Paper Leaves on Fields of Clay (2020)

for orchestra
Commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louis Langrée, Music Director
With generous support from Ann & Harry Santen

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Louis Langrée, conductor
Cincinnati Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH
October 30-31, 2020

Paper Leaves on Fields of Clay traces an arch from sunrise to sunset. Beams of light blossom and shift over an expansive landscape. As the title suggests, the piece juxtaposes fragile, fluttering motives that lilt and sway with sturdy, saturated chords that remain firmly rooted in accentuated rhythms and warm, enveloping harmonies. The music draws inspiration from the malleable and natural forms of paper and clay, as well as their connection to childhood play and creative materials. As the piece moves from dawn to dusk, the perspective shifts from waking to dreaming, from brimming with childlike curiosity and revelry in the act of play to yearning for comfort, home, and peaceful rest. The imaginary field, at first a playground for creative adventures, transforms into a nest, an intimate space for dreaming. In this sense, the piece speaks to the joy found in vulnerability and childlike immersion in the present, the delicacy and strength of innocence, and the power of imaginative discovery.