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Let Grief (2018)

clarinet, cello, piano

*Premiered by members of Ensemble PHACE at the 2018 Vienna Summer Music Festival

Composer's note:

This is a piece about loss.

It has been my intention for a very long time to compose a work centered around grief. I, like many others, have dealt with the loss of place, the loss of friends, of a parent, of relatives, of a relationship, of a sense of connection, a sense of worth, a sense of self... Mourning is a universal human experience, but it takes a different course in everyone.

The descending half-step “sigh” has long been a hallmark of musical grief, so, continuing with tradition, the half-step interval serves as the central current of this work. Structurally, the piece follows the classic stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, using the “sigh” not only in a descending motion, but also ascending, and expanding it to a whole-step and across the octave to a major seventh and minor/major ninths.

Ultimately, my goal with this piece is simple: I aim to capture my very personal emotional tumult at the losses I’ve experienced, the dizzying pain that has weighed me down in the past, and the ultimate silence of internal isolation. 


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