Sic Transit

Sic Transit, 2017 (22′)

for large ensemble (1.1.1.1 – 2.1.1.0 – 2 perc., piano – strings)

Sic Transit is my ballet score for last year’s inaugural Ballet Sun Valley festival, dreamt-of and directed by the unstoppable Isabella Boylston and choreographed by the very gifted choreographer, Gemma Bond, with set and light design by Kate Duhamel.

It was not purposeful, to have the first-ever Ballet Sun Valley festival take place on the same week as the solar eclipse that cut across the country, passing through Idaho among many other states, but that’s how things lined up. So we decided to run with it. I thought about the idea of a “transit”, of celestial bodies passing each other in a kind of dance, where independent objects align for an extended moment, then disperse. Large and small versions of this concept make up the language of Sic Transit, with the moments of coming-together sometimes extended into full-blown sections of their own.

An eclipse suggests a problematic form — a too-simple, too-symmetrical arc. So we balanced the physical phenomenon against the spiritual dimension of experiencing the event, where one is transformed afterward, distorting the arc. For our ballet, the full eclipse was in near-darkness on stage (a striking contrast to Kate Duhamel’s vibrantly-lit set), with music descending to near-quiet. Afterwards, Isabella and her partner dance a pas de deux to bring us out of the darkness and back into the light.

Many thanks to the Ballet Sun Valley Orchestra and Martin West for the fantastic performance, and to the festival for letting me share it. And of course to Isabella, Gemma, and Kate. I hope you enjoy the score!

Sic Transit live recording

Sic Transit is my ballet score for last year’s inaugural Ballet Sun Valley festival, dreamt-of and directed by the unstoppable Isabella Boylston and choreographed by the very gifted choreographer, Gemma Bond. I wish I had video!

The piece is all about the full solar eclipse that passed over the US last year, with the arc of totality going through Sun Valley. The festival happened to take place during Eclipse Week, so naturally we made that the topic. Here’s where a bunch of us watched the eclipse itself:

An eclipse suggests a problematic form — a too-simple, too-symmetrical arc. So we balanced the physical phenomenon against the spiritual dimension of experiencing the event, where one is transformed afterward, distorting the arc. For our ballet, the full eclipse was in near-darkness on stage (a striking contrast to Kate Duhamel’s vibrantly-lit set), with music descending to near-quiet. Afterwards, Isabella and her partner dance a pas de deux to bring us out of the darkness and back into the light.

Many thanks to the Ballet Sun Valley Orchestra and Martin West for the fantastic performance, and to the festival for letting me share it. And of course to Isabella, Gemma, and Kate. I hope you enjoy the score!

2018 Ecstatic Music Festival

Next week, the 2018 Ecstatic Music Festival begins at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall. It’s always one of the highlights of my year and I hope you can join us for some of the shows. Check out ecstaticmusicfestival.com for tickets and subscription packages!

Xenia Rubinos & Adam Schatz’s Civil Engineering • Sat, Jan 27 at 7:30pm

Kronos Quartet & Face the Music • Mon, Feb 05 at 7:30pm

Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund Concert • Thu, Feb 15 at 7:30pm

Arone Dyer’s Dronechoir & Mahogany L. Browne • Thu, Mar 01 at 7:30pm

Glasser (with Robbie Lee & Eleonore Oppenheim) & big dog little dog • Thu, Mar 22 at 7:30pm

Bent Knee & Mantra Percussion • Thu, Mar 29 at 7:30pm

Clockworks & Songs of Mourning • Sat, Apr 14 at 8:30pm

ModernMedieval & Julianna Barwick • Thu, Apr 19 at 7:30pm

Ecstatic Music Festival: Margaret Leng Tan premieres George Crumb, Suzanne Farrin & Kelly Moran • Thu, Apr 26 at 7:30pm