Ma Fin (1997)

Processional for Orchestra

( percussion.piano.strings)

Duration: 8 minutes

Program Note
The immediate influence on 'Ma fin' was medieval cathedrals.

On entering the medieval cathedral of Leon, Spain, one is struck not only by its awesome size, but also by its exquisite stained glass, which symbolizes the ascent to the divine through its three vertical levels. In the bottom arcade, flowering plants emerge from the earth, at mid-level the triforium depicts human activity: men plowing fields, pilgrims traversing the countryside. At top, the clerestory is devoted to the eternity of heaven. While each of these levels possesses a different sense of internal and external time, they manage to coexist in the vast expanse of the cathedral and as in the cathedral so to on earth and in heaven.

Ma fin takes this notion of the gothic cathedral as its starting point; both in its separation of the orchestra into three distinct layers - the strings play a tambura-type drone; the winds and brass have chorale-type material that loops and reverses itself (hence the reference to Machaut's famous rondeau), and in its monumentality and solemnity. One's initial impression is of entering an enormous, all-encompassing, all-embracing sound. If the divine is - as the Pre-Socratic philosopher Anaximander proposed - boundless: "the parts change, but the totality is changeless," Ma fin is my communion with the divine.

         -Nelsonville, February 2022

Awaiting Premiere

Aspen Chamber Symphony
Jeri Lynne Johnson, conductor

July 1998
Aspen, Colorado



Score Sample
Score in Preparation