I’m headed back to Seattle this weekend for the premiere of Sanctuary by the Seattle Chamber Music Society. Here’s a bit about the piece:
Domed and Steepled Solitude
Scents and Recollection
A Reliable Pulse
A peaceful refuge, a shelter, a sanctuary: all creatures require an opportunity to retreat from oppressive forces, to find respite from the burdens and demands of life. Sanctuary explores four of these havens in four movements, all connecting the world in which we live to the world we imagine.
When Mark Twain first visited New York City, he spoke of a “domed and steepled solitude, where a stranger is lonely among a million of his race.” The first movement of Sanctuary pits overwhelming clamor against quiet introspection — the initial tempo indication is Tranquillo vs. furioso – gradually subsiding into gently rolling harmonies.
Many of us have felt the seductive nature of speed (the state of motion, not the amphetamine), whether found in running shoes, in the air, in amusement park rides, on the highways. Leaving the rest of the world in a blur enables us to find, if only briefly, a sense of repose and wonder. The second movement celebrates speed in a scherzo named for the conveyance favored by Mercury, the swift messenger god of ancient Rome.
Scents and Recollection traces the path from sensory experience to memory, so lovingly described by Proust in À la recherche du temps perdu. A single note blossoms into a many-voiced aria from a bygone era, leading to the peaceful, rocking harmonies that concluded the first movement.
All life ends, but life itself endures. As we ponder our individual fates, we can’t help but seek reassurance in the consistent rhythms coursing through the vessels of our mortality. A Reliable Pulse finds refuge from darkest fears in the steady but fragile patterns of life: a beating heart, an exuberant dance.
And here is the video SCMS has posted about the piece: