Hudson - for flute, violin, viola, cello
Commissioned by the Orchestra of St. Luke's
Performance: Musiqa - Leon Buyse, flute; Cristian Macelaru, violin; Eliseo Rene Salazar, viola; Barrett Sills, cello
Hudson was composed at the Copland House and was inspired by the atmosphere there. My initial thought was to compose a piece about connections – between people and cities, nature and artifice, past and present, music and mind. As I took in my surroundings, the feeling of the Hudson River as a connector of all these things kept returning to my thoughts. I discovered many new works of Aaron Copland while at the
Copland House, including his two "Threnodies", composed for this exact instrumentation. The first of these Threnodies begins with a melody that contains the same contour as the opening gesture of Hudson. I decided to play upon this coincidence and quote Copland's melody in its entirety, using it as the basis for the final section, Spirits. Rock Hill is the property where the Copland House is located, the house itself standing proudly among nature, the composing studio jutting into a cradle of trees. Bridges are omnipresent in that part of the country – created in all shapes and sizes, of all materials and manners, but all serving the same essential purpose. Currents are
constantly running underneath these bridges, moving everything somewhere else. The Hudson leads to New York City, where the Sidewalks are like the mountain streams further up the Hudson. These Sidewalks are places of anxiety, impatience, joy, rushing, waiting, meeting, departing and countless other moods – all of which can be experienced on one walk down the street. Spirits evokes the unseen but omnipresent genesis of all that has come before, gradually building a passionate chorale out of Copland's monody, then fading.