Invisible Victories Program Note

Invisible Victories Program Note

Here is what was included in the Thornton Edge program last week regarding my piece:

Invisible Victories for large chamber ensemble

I. Tempt the Present

II. To See the End

III. Breathe

Invisible Victories represents a significant milestone in my life as both a composer and a student. Finished in January of this year, this work for 17 musicians serves as my dissertation, the final step leading to the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition. Though the work symbolizes a major academic achievement, its subject matter is much more personal. The title refers not to accomplishments that go unsung, but rather to the lessons we learn from life that can be easily missed or taken for granted yet leave a tremendous impact on our character. Learning to live by these principles lead to the good life and are some of the quietest successes one can have. These are the invisible victories from which this work drew its inspiration.

The first movement, Tempt the Present, is an axiom of presentness. Living in the present frees the mind of the burdens of the past and the worries of the future. Musically, this is expressed through the use of a single idea (the opening gesture) that propels every other note in the movement. It is as if nothing but that singular moment matters. To See the End offers a counterbalance, referring to the teleological approach that, for better or worse, drives our ambitions. This slow movement fixates on a ground bass that is restated obsessively at different pitch levels, always growing in intensity as if searching for the ultimate goal. The search is interrupted by a moment of chaos, as is often the case in life, before finally returning to the opening tonal center, though now strikingly reharmonized. The final movement, Breathe, is short and to the point. There is nothing more necessary to life than breathing, yet it is something I find myself needing constant reminders to do. In this perpetually moving finale, the momentum never lets up, so remember to breathe.

Thank you Donald Crockett and Stephen Hartke for your inspiration and guidance. I am lucky to count you as mentors and colleagues.

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