The Hermit Thrush & The Astronaut (2012)
Written at The MacDowell Colony. Commissioned by The Hartt School/University of Hartford with funds from the Faculty Development Fund for bassist Robert Black.
Something ancient, something modern, something timeless:
At this moment there is a carved astronaut caught amidst engraved vine leaves on the pillars of an ancient cathedral and there is a bird that has for centuries sung the same song but refuses at all costs, each time it sings, to repeat it in the same way. The bird’s tune is captured by a distant memory of an ancient forgotten past. It bubbles to the surface, overflowing with the excitement of coming to life as something new, never heard before.
Written while on residence in New Hampshire, the piece was inspired by the infinitely varied birdsong of the hermit thrush, a native bird to the area, and the stone engraving of an astronaut on the door of the Salamanca cathedral in Spain. The collision of old and new worlds forms the crucible in which the music is forged.