"Sky's Edge" (2013) - For Youth Orchestra
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For Youth Orchestra
(1221 - 2210 - 2 perc - hp - strings)
Commissioned by The Dalton School Orchestra
Jordan Brown, Director
"Sky's Edge" is an abstract work that follows an emotional arc, tracing a musical journey. While the title came to me after I had finished composing the work, I had the image of the sky over New York City in the back of my mind while composing. In the music, I tried to capture a similar sense of the expansiveness and monumentality of New York's skyline but also the intensity and bustling energy of the city itself. The piece does not seek to depict a specific image or scene, I only used these concepts and feelings as a starting point for my inspiration.
In writing a work for the The Dalton School Orchestra, I also wanted to give the performers a chance to express their individuality within the construct of the larger ensemble. The opening and closing textures of the piece ask each member of the string section to act as soloists. Each player performs shorts fragments of music, choosing his or her own tempo and phrasing. The result is a larger texture of great intensity – a vibrant multitude of individual voices clamoring as one larger voice.
The main musical theme of the piece, heard at the opening in the winds and brass, transforms over the course of the work and is heard in different guises and in various contexts as the piece progresses. In a faster section marked "Bright, energetic," the theme transforms into a sweeping lyrical melody played by the strings. By the end of the work, the broad opening version of the main theme returns in the winds and brass in a majestic and ecstatic conclusion. "Sky's Edge" was commissioned by The Dalton School Orchestra and its director, Jordan Brown.