Forever Building Edens comes from A Canticle for Leibowitz, a novel that follows an order of monks in the post-apocalyptic United States. They, much like the monks of our own Middle Ages, are charged with the task of storing knowledge for future generations. What is striking, however, is that their illuminated documents and holy relics are our everyday items - blueprints, engines, slips of paper with grocery lists, etc.
This notion of “normal” objects becoming precious to later historical epochs is evidence of a cyclic history: civilizations rise, become unstable, and inevitably fall. Out of what remains grows a new civilization, and the cycle begins again. The new era is always fascinated with the old, studying it, examining its culture and people, trying to understand how and why it collapsed. It begs the question: what of ours will future archaeologists put in their museums to study? It also begs the more menacing question: how will our society eventually end?
Miller’s extraordinary invocation to the final part of his novel, from which the title of this work comes, illustrates the darker side of these questions. His centuries march onward, past the stirrings of fledgeling populations, their technological growth and increasingly elaborate hierarchical organizations unnoticed, its lives and deaths unmourned. It is a bleak picture indeed. Is it even possible for us to build an Eden? And, if so, what must we do differently to succeed?
Ragnarok : 2015
Picc / 3 Fl / 2 Cl / BCl / 2 A Sax / T Sax / B Sax / 3 Tpt / 2 Hn / 2 Tbn / 2 Bar / Tba (opt. 2) / 4 Perc
Ragnarok: Lullaby for the Gods was written in the Spring of 2015 for Jim McCarl and the Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, FL. It is a reimagining of the Norse apocalypse known as Ragnarok (literally “twilight of the gods”). It involves a significant battle, lots of characters both divine and semi-divine, and the eventual burning of the entire world and its submergence in water. Much like other end-of-days tales, it is the way in which the world “resets” itself. Unusually, though, it is not humans but the gods and their hubris that begin and continue this series of events. This work is for those gods who perish in the struggle. It sings them to sleep, with a darker tinge of “I told you so” under the surface. The melody that pervades the work is a Medieval English Christmas Carol - a lullaby that has to do with the loss of love and the death of gods.
Tu Amor Me Hace Bien : 2011
2 Fl / 2 Ob / Eb Cl / 3 Bb Cl / 2 A Sax / T Sax / B Sax / 3 Tpt / 4 Hn / 3 Tbn / B Tbn / Euph / Tba /Timp / 4 Perc
Tu Amor Me Hace Bien (literally "your love has done me good") was written after a trip to Costa Rica and Panama I took in 2011. The purpose of the trip, which I took with my college’s Wind Ensemble, was, among other things, to present a joint concert, clinic, master class, and conducting symposium with a high school in Panama. While working with the ensemble, I decided to write a piece, this piece, for them. It is to that school and that ensemble that this work is dedicated.