This Old Place (2015) - For Orchestra
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Commissioned by the Yale Symphony Orchestra for its 50th Anniversary Season
This Old Place is an homage to old places – those in the physical world, one’s personal life and also in music. I have frequently found inspiration from the sense of a physical place, trying to recapture my emotional reaction to its atmosphere. When I enter a historic space, I am moved by the idea of being part of a shared past with those who have come before me. These feelings are different from those that I feel when I return to “personal” old places, which may not be as old but which feel like “home,” where a part of my identity was formed. And then there are places in pieces of music that can bring back memories more vibrantly than can anything in the physical world.
This piece is specifically in homage to spaces that can encapsulate for us these three kinds of places. For myself, concert halls are spaces that can surround me with a sense of history, a feeling of being “home” and many vivid musical memories of concerts I have heard or performed there. The piece aims to engage with a concert hall’s sense of space, which can be at once intimate and also intensely public, by creating moments that listen intently to its quiet sounds and the simple beauty of its acoustic, but also to how its acoustic can surround and overwhelm us.
Central to my conception of the piece is the notion of revisiting through memory. The piece also revisits and re-imagines musical material from my composition, Why Old Places Matter for oboe, horn and piano (commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for its Chamber Players), inspired by another old place that is close to my heart – Rome’s Basilica Santa Sabina.
This Old Place was commissioned by the Yale Symphony Orchestra in honor of its 50th Anniversary Season, and is dedicated to its Music Director, Toshiyuki Shimada.