Eclipse

1+2picc, 2, 2+B.cl, 2+cbsn - 4, 3, 3, 1 - hrp - pno - 4perc - strings

Eclipse is my first entry into the tone poem genre. I had recently become fixated on a harmonic language that focuses on the opposition of bright and dark sonorities. In hindsight, it seems inevitable that I would happen upon the program of an eclipse, which provided a perfect opportunity to create vivid imagery juxtaposing light and darkness.
Following the timeline of an eclipse, the piece is in a ternary “bright-dark-bright” form. In the opening sunny section, metallic percussion, sul ponticello strings, and high piccolo flourishes adorn an energetic trio of Harmon-muted trumpets. As
this first section reaches its climax, the eclipse begins, transforming the trumpet trio into a duo of oboes. From here the music gradually dims until it reaches the deepest register of the orchestra, played by piano, harp, bass drum, and contrabassoon. At this point, corresponding to the period of totality, nocturnal insects begin to buzz and chirp, intensifying with the coming dawn.
The sun returns and the brightness intensifies as our eyes struggle to readjust; the fleeting pockets of energy from the opening have escalated into a continuous stream of vigorous, gleaming passagework. My goal was to write atmospheric music that bathes the listener in shimmering light and calming shadows. I wanted to write lush music that was not Romantic, complex music that was not taxing for the ear. Most importantly, I am pleased that the program in its broadest sense is accessible; the audience needs only the title to follow the large-scale form of the piece.

Instruments: 
Ensemble: 
Duration: 
13 minutes
Date: 
February, 2019