this circle (2013)

Duration: 6:00 minutes

Instrumentation: violin, viola, cello

Premiere: September 28 2013 at Exapno in Brooklyn by Maya Bennardo, violin, Hannah Levinson, viola, and Mariel Roberts, cello


     This Circle is a short piece based on a Croatian folk song “Ovo kolo.” A kolo is a broad category of circle dances, which can be sung or played by instruments, and can range from fast and lively to slow and lyrical. “Ovo kolo” is the slow, stately kind.

     I first heard this song on an old field recording, sung by a group of women. Their singing was haunting, it had a kind of sad dignity and an intensity in their close harmonies. My piece begins with an expansive, meditative drone and gradually builds to a full-throated setting of the original song, before evaporating into harmonics at the end.