Under the Long Shadow of Senseless Acts
for violin, cello and piano
(Duration: 6 minutes)
Music is said to evoke, mimic, or create broad emotional states. In addition, representation through music appears limited to imitate sounds of reality: an orchestra can imitate a busy highway, but it is unlikely to clearly represent “a red Camaro driving casually on a cool Thursday afternoon” without having words or images to explain the scene. As with such scenes of reality, musical depiction of emotional states usually depends on external cues (visual, literary, etc.)
After composing Under the Long Shadow of Senseless Acts, I realized that this music appears to inhabit a rather precise but nuanced emotional space. I could not quite find the right words for this space, but it nears “a certain type of sadness as a result of regret.” This is the emotional space in which we find ourselves thinking of lost opportunities, mistakes we really wish we hadn’t made and by the cornucopia of “cringy” memories that we all carry with us.
Before I noticed this aspect of the piece, I thought of it as a good example “dynamic stasis,” a type of construction where a long, non-directional melodic line cuts through a static background, yet this background possesses a certain dynamic quality while circling around itself.