big sky, low horizon (2013)

Duration: 7:00 minutes

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello


     This piece was inspired by an Ansel Adams photograph. Of course, like many of his famous photographs, the natural beauty of the picture is stunning: a desert scene with a tremendous sense of open space, making the mountains in the distance seem small and the viewer even smaller. But to me, the most fascinating thing about this photograph was the low placement of the horizon. While the mountains and the desert floor suggested majestic stillness, the clear sky marked only by wisps of cirrus clouds gave the picture a sense of dizzying weightlessness. My piece is based on the juxtaposition of these two elements.

     Big Sky, Low Horizon is in three parts. It begins with a fleet scherzo that always seem to be climbing upward. The middle section is a lyrical interlude with gently rising and falling lines. Finally, the scherzo returns to conclude the piece.