I. low country matins - preview score
II. nocturne - preview score
III. the desert hours - preview score
This work was written for, and dedicated to, my friends Christos Galileas (violin), Brandt Fredriksen (piano) and Michael Palmer (conductor). In addition to composing the piece for these colleagues, the concerto was also written especially for a week-long event, the Odysseia Symposium, held on the campus of Georgia State University and sponsored by the Center for Hellenic Studies, the School of Music and made possible in part through the generous support of the Center for Collaborative International Arts (CENCIA). Because the composition was written for an event highlighting modern Greek performers, composers and poets, the music makes substantial use of Greek folk rhythms, especially in the first and third movements. The first movement employs a “syrto” rhythm evident upon the entrance of the violin. This rhythm is indigenous primarily in the southern area of the country. Variants of the rhythm are also found throughout Greek Islands. The third movement makes use of mixed meters generally found in the northern portion of the country.
As a programmatic element, the concerto also concerns itself with the cycle of the day. The first movement, low country matins, was composed almost entirely on Kiawah Island, South Carolina located in the low country of the state, near Charleston. Much of the music was written in the early morning and has a fresh and buoyant character. The music seeks to convey a certain optimism for the day that is dawning. The second movement, nocturne, is conceived as a lullaby of sorts and is meant to depict evening and a rest to the toil of the day. The third movement carries the title the desert hours. For me, this title reflects the struggles of the day; the temptations, the triumphs and the failures we all endure hour by hour during the course of a day. We need not live a literal monastic life in the wilderness to experience the very real spiritual struggles found in the desert of our modern society. In depicting this struggle, the music itself moves back and forth between tension and exuberance as the performers make their way through this “desert.”