Duration: 15 minutes
It is a habit, pilgrimage;
you get into the habit of circles...
being son, then father, still son...
- Nicholas Delbanco
In the spring of 1996 I had the pleasure of walking Gascony. One night, I found myself
sharing drink with a group of French archeologists at the Roman villa of Seviac, over
whose mosiacs I would be spending the night. Talk came around to what had entranced me
so much about Gascony, and perhaps it was the spirit of the place, or perhaps the company
that caused me to reflect on a church I had seen on a hilltop in the village of Flammerens:
its walls stood, but its roof and windows were no more. However, after several hundred years
of disrepair, it was finally being restored to function again as it had in past times.
In my mind, this church stood out from my image of the surrounding countryside, for over
Gascony's hills were cycles of being. Towns grew and blossomed and remained and within them
generation after generation lived, worked, and passed, only to be replaced by another; the
villages seemingly exist through time and through them passes an unceasing procession of
fathers and sons, an idea that has forever been linked in my mind with the "Omnes Generationes"
movement of Bach's "Magnificat." Somehow this church had escaped from the cycle of being and
fallen into legend, only to be pulled back to reality. As I grow older, and begin to see my
grandfather's generation pass, I have often wondered about these cycles and what lays beyond
them. That night, after the archaeologists went home, I lit a fire, held a Roman vase and
contemplated the stars.
Generations is in one movement of fifteen minute duration. All the musical material is derived
from two chords, one being the tritone transposition of the other, and from the result of bleeding
one chord, through a combined chromatic ascent and descent, into the other.
New England Conservatory Classical Orchestra
Stephen Lipsitt, conductor
Score in Preparation