And I Felt the Sun, Rising

Title: And I Felt the Sun, Rising

Instrumentation: Flute (+alto flute), Clarinet (+bass), Violin, Cello, Piano, Horn

Program Notes:

This piece is a tone poem based upon a text from an anonymous source. It is split into four sections, separated by a whispered refrain of ‘And I felt the sun, rising’ and unified by a tone row, which provides the seed for each of the sections. As the piece progresses, the tessitura rises and the tempo increases. The first section concerns itself with the introduction of the row and the depiction of the machinery that lifts the sun from the darkness. It also introduces the main rising motive that is heard throughout the piece and the idea of echoes. The second section introduces a second motive that is triadic in nature. It also introduces the theme (row-based) that will reappear at important points. It is a more vertical treatment of the row material. The third section is based on a scale formed by the first note and last seven notes of the row (or an intersection of DbM7 and the augmented triad Gb, Bb, and D plus a B-natural). The flute and clarinet imitate birdsong as they explore the echoes by playing into the piano. The final section brings many of these ideas together. It is highly pointillistic in nature and travels from strict row-based material to a warm Db9 chord which rounds out the piece. The row is heard four times in its entirety: twice as the recurring theme, once as a bass line, and once tossed between all the instruments in a complex texture. There is a brief quotation of Daphnis and Chloe (Ravel) which brings to mind the famous sunrise in that ballet. The piece ends quietly and the listener is left with the ringing echoes.

First Performance: 2008: Alia Musica Pittsburgh