I am off to the Charlotte New Music Festival, a gathering of composers, performers and music lovers in the Queen City over the second half of June. I’ll be teaching seminars and lessons, and the Out of Bounds Ensemble will be premiering a new piece of mine – Let Slip – on June 23 at the Steinway Piano Gallery.
Also on the program:
- Gestures (fl, ob, perc, pno) by Egid Joechi
- simul justus et peccator (vln, gtr) by Timothy Clay
- 7 Step (fl, vln, vla, gtr, perc, pno) by Nathan Mays
- Summer Breeze (fl, vla, gtr, perc) by Zach Davis
- Serene Euphoria (vln, ob, piano) by Victor Zheng
- 9 Haiku (fl, pno) by Michael Fiday
- Prelude and Postlude for a Bach Sonata (vln) by Dana Kaufman
That’s just one of eight concerts over the course of two weeks – should be a good time.
Let Slip has an unusual scoring: flute, oboe, violin, viola, percussion, piano. I’ve been writing a lot of quiet, understated music lately, but Let Slip is anything but. Here is my program note for it:
Some wars are just; some battles must be joined.
But no war, in my lifetime, has ended well, to the extent that they have ended at all. Each one exacts a cost that continues to demand repayment.
When Marc Antony comes upon his friend slain by traitors in Act III of Julius Caesar, his grief bursts forth in a bloodthirsty speech, words that lash up a lather of hatred and violence. The speech famously culminates “Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war.” The metaphorical hounds, once let off their leash, bring “dreadful objects so familiar/That mothers … but smile when they behold/Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war.”
Forever warring or on the brink of war, mankind has let slip those beasts time and time again, always with dreadful consequences. We haven’t yet learned – nor, I fear, will we ever — that once the dogs of war are let loose, we can’t expect them to return tamed.
The world of Let Slip is built around the sonority of the tubular bells — sometimes marking the passage of time, sometimes sounding the alarm.