• 3+pic.3+ca.3+bcl.2+cbn/43(pictp)21/4perc/hp/str
  • Trombone
  • 25 min

Programme Note

Composer’s Note:

My music must be passionate; involving risk and adventure such that any given musical moment may seem surprising when first heard but, a millisecond later, seems inevitable. I think of my music as nuanced lyricism under pressure! That said, my primary artistic concern is to communicate in an honest and passionate voice, being faithful to my deepest inner promptings and creative urges. This way, any willing listener, irrespective of prior musical knowledge, training or background can engage with my music.

Every listener brings their own unique perspective to the listening process. In Canticle Weaving I offer them aesthetic engagements with the world and with themselves as I, too, undertake a mission of self-discovery. Music of all kinds constantly amazes, surprises, propels and seduces me into wonderful and powerful journeys. I care deeply that music is not anonymous and generic - easily assimilated and just as easily dismissed and forgotten. Canticle Weaving has passionate, urgent, seductive and compelling qualities of often complex (but always logical) thought allied to sensuous sonic profiles.

My favorite moment in any piece of music is that of maximum risk and striving. Whether the venture is tiny or large, loud or soft, fragile or strong, passionate, erratic or eccentric — the moment of exquisite humanity and raw soul! All art that I cherish has elements of order, mystery, love, recklessness and desperation. For me, music must be alive and jump off the page and out of the instrument as if SOMETHING BIG IS AT STAKE.

This artistic credo leads me to examine small musical objects (a chord, a motive, a rhythm, a color) and explore them from many perspectives. These different perspectives reveal new musical potentials which develop the musical discourse. In this manner, and in Canticle Weaving in particular, the music takes on an organic, circular, self-referential character which, at the same time, has a forward progression.

Taking this notion further, I have frequently been interested in reexamining musical objects across different works. Canticle Weaving reexamines musical elements which have permeated my music for the past several years in a wide variety of pieces, for example - Rise Chanting, Eagle at Sunrise, Orbital Beacons, Ceremonial, Prayer Bells, Trainwork, Light the First Light of Evening and, most recently, In My Sky at Twilight. For this reason, the title Canticle Weaving has a personal meaning - it is the end of the song that has laced its way through five or six years of my compositional life. Canticle Weaving brings to a close this chapter — it was like writing the final book in a sequel of interrelated novels. In future works the language, passion, colors and processes of my music will remain but I will search for new and challenging perspectives.

This work is dedicated with affection, admiration and gratitude to Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ralph Sauer, Ed Yim, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

— Augusta Read Thomas


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