Upon Viewing a Family in Mourning (2013)

Upon Viewing a Family in Mourning (2013) – oboe/flute, clarinet in Bb, and bassoon (10′)
I. The Mother (5′)
II. The Brother (5′)
This work takes it inspiration from a series of conversations I had with the family of a friend of mine who passed away in a tragic car accident in the summer of 2013. I was able to observe the mourning process for these two people, and it left a profound effect on me. In the first movement, “The Mother,” there is a sense of quiet introspection coupled with intense outpourings of emotion and confusion. The textures are relatively simple throughout, ranging from elegiac solos, to homophonic reflections full of bittersweet harmonies, until measure 41, when the ensemble gives one final, muddled shout, before ending in somber contemplation, the clarinet echoing the weeping diad from the opening. The second movement, “The Brother,” takes these somber moments and makes them short bursts of reflection, surrounded by sections of dense counterpoint and virtuosic moments for all three members of the ensemble. The brother has little time to mourn; he must handle all the business of death. The pain is still there, but it is masked for the sake of the mother. The work comes to an end with a soaring clarinet line, barely audible, and a fade to niente.

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