Escape, 2005 (13′)
for viola solo
Repetition carries many meanings in music, as in the written and spoken word. It can make a musical gesture more meaningful, or less; it can provide rhythmic energy, or dissipate it; it can signify moments as celebratory or terrifying, and all else in between. Escape begins in a world that knows only repetition, of the uneven, quivering variety. It is uncomfortable and yet I think it is also beautiful. I will not say that the piece represents an escape from that confined world; it is not so literal or boring, I hope. But there is something to the idea of escape in this music: of looking for an exit, of perhaps finding a way out, or having one emerge, and then of (again, perhaps) wanting to find the way back in. It is a challenging narrative and I’m not sure what the outcome is, if there is even a clear one. But the pleasure, I hope, is in the journey, the story and the psychology and the performance. In that spirit, Escape is dedicated to Nadia Sirota, for whom this work was written, and I am excited and interested to see how she tells the tale, now and in the future. I know few musicians — in the complete sense of the word — who are comparable to Nadia and so I have written her a piece that will give her something to chew on, hopefully for a long time to come.