April Full Moon; Regular Old Life

April Full Moon; Regular Old Life

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Scoring & Instrumentation
Two Violas and Cimbalom
Alternate Title
April Full Moon; Regular Old Life, Op. 695
Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)
9
Movements

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Description

Composer's Note:

Commissioned for Viola/Cimbalom: Ludovico Ensemble 20th Anniversary Concert
May 22, 2023
To Nicholas Tolle, Anna Griffis, and Sam Kelder

The first expressive impetus for the music contained in April Full Moon; Regular Old Life came after I read an article that stemmed from interviews with people in solitary confinement; the writer concluded that what these prisoners craved most were ‘the moon’ and ‘human touch’.

As the composing process evolved this spring, the concept of ‘the moon’ became more specific: we’re talking here about the ‘April Full Moon’ (or ‘April Pink Moon;’ ‘Full Crow Moon’, referring to the pink phlox that blooms in spring, or the crow-caw that signals the end of winter). I was thinking particularly of how I would sorely miss these seasonal features within the unending confines of four solid, windowless walls. Similarly, ‘Regular Old Life’ (a separate section which happens in the piece about two thirds of the way through, with a comparatively vigorous, extended viola duet passage marked ‘cranking along; sharp yet gentle; knotted yet pedestrian’) is where I took the notion of ‘human touch’; what we take for granted as a regular occurrence (shaking hands, bumping into someone walking around a corner; you name it) is no longer regular if it’s completely missing.

As for the unusual ensemble employed here in an effort to project the poignant atmosphere suggested to me by ‘the moon’ and ‘human touch’ images, I can say that now that I’ve heard the cimbalom played under Nick Tolle’s masterful, experimental guidance over a period of a decade or so, the instrument’s distinctive sonic palette seemed just right to conjure the atmospheres I was ‘hearing’ while composing. In like fashion, violists Sam Kelder and Anna Griffis contribute a possible composite ‘light of the moon’ through a tender, largely non-contrapuntal ‘lockstep’ of rhythmic unison playing. I thought of ‘human touch’ as hand/finger on string (pizzicato) for both violas and cimbalom.

Beyond the images described here, this trio is ‘about’ itself, pursuing its own shapes and moves as it slips away like aspects of ‘regular old life’.

I extend my gratitude and admiration to Anna, Sam, and Nick for suggesting and taking on the piece, and I’m pleased to offer it in celebration of Ludovico Ensemble’s surprising 20th Anniversary (already?!?).

Comments

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First Perfomance
May 22, 2023 Ludovico Ensemble 20th Anniversary Concert; Boston Conservatory
Recording

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Text Language - Non English

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Text Source/Author

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Title Number
Ensemble Type
instrumental trio
Genre/Theme

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Instrument
viola
Purchase Options
PDF License & Download
PDF Price
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$17.00 score + 2 parts
ACA-MCDJ-029