• 2pf, str(
  • string quartet
  • 1 hr 6 min

Programme Note

Lou Harrison was a generous friend and wise mentor to me for almost 30 years. His faith in and support of my music was a decisive influence in my life. I learned more from my time with Lou than from any of my institutional studies. And he was an inspiring model of how to live, without regret or bitterness, as an uncompromising independent composer.

Composed in 2003-2004, for Lou Harrison completes a trilogy of large-scale memorial works that also includes Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing (1991-1995) and In the White Silence (1998).

for Lou Harrison encompasses the most lush and active textures in my music to date, moving in four tempo layers (in the proportions 4/5/6/7) throughout. The work's two textures - rising arpeggios over sustained harmonic clouds, and long solo lines over "procession-like" material - alternate in nine continuous sections, each of which is grounded in a different five-, six- or seven-tone harmony. The formal structures of the composition recur throughout the score, but the sound of the music is always changing.

for Lou Harrison was not commissioned. I composed this work because I was compelled to do so in response to the death of one of the most important figures in my life. Amid the daunting realities of today's world, Lou Harrison and his joyful ecumenical life and music seem more vital and more pertinent than ever before.

John Luther Adams