Generations (1999-2000)

for Orchestra

( percussion.piano.strings)

Duration: 15 minutes

Program Note
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.
        -Boston, 2000

Awaiting Premiere

New England Conservatory Classical Orchestra
Stephen Lipsitt, conductor

May 2000
Jordan Hall
Boston, Massachusetts



Score Sample
Score in Preparation