Year Authored (or revised): 


Instrumentation : 

viola, piano

Duration (min): 




Excavating the Perfect Farewell is an elegy, a fond remembrance, an exercise in nostalgia that hopefully also looks forward. The piece consists of two parts, played as movements without pause.

The first consists of a series of “explorations”, in which the two instruments discover materials for future use in the piece. All of these musical ideas are united by the principle of overtone-based harmony, a technique I am currently exploring in a series of pieces. [In this practice harmonic movement results from shifting fundamentals, both heard and unheard, and the use of common partials between series as “pivots” for modulation.]

The second movement consolidates these findings which have been “uncovered” into a seamless, nearly endless melody, soft, slow, and aching. The title’s image is in fact dual. On the one hand, music is excavated, then polished and put on display. At the same time, these materials are being readied for a decent burial. So things are both exhumed and interred at once.

Written for Scott Woolweaver and John McDonald, on the occasion of the final concert of Extension Works.

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