once, for violin and piano

Commissioned By Young Concert Artists, Inc.

Year
2011
Duration
18 minutes
"At the ripe age of 23, Chris Rogerson premiered his piece 'once'...a work which revealed a confident, fully-grown composing talent."-The Washington Post
"Chris Rogerson's 'once' bared a naturally and colorfully eclectic voice...Rogerson has a sure hand, nothing ever forced, a real naturalness..."-The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"In the finale, Mr. Rogerson deftly evokes fireflies and children scampering to catch them. Heard in its New York premiere, the work was sympathetically played and warmly received."-The New York Times

I began writing once in the summer of 2011 at the MacDowell Colony. One feature of MacDowell is a library, which includes the work of the other current artists-in-residence for you to peruse. It was there that I came across Meghan O’Rourke’s wonderful memoir, The Long Goodbye. The Long Goodbye depicts the author’s grief following the loss of her mother. When I first read the Prologue I was immediately struck by the beauty and elegance of her writing. I knew I wanted to compose a piece based on it. The Prologue describes her childhood summers with her mother, with only one mention of her loss later in life. I found this extremely poignant, and decided to split my work into four movements, each based on an image or idea from the Prologue. The following quotes correspond to each of the work’s four movements, and were provided courtesy of the author:

“When we are learning the world, we know things we cannot say how
we know.”
“At noon we swam in the chill of the river and at dusk we walked
through the fields across Route 7 to pick ears of corn under the
massing gray clouds.”
“When we are relearning the world in the aftermath of a loss, we feel
things we had almost forgotten, old things, beneath the seat of reason.”

“As the fireflies began to rise one summer evening, my mother called to
us. Look, she said. See them? Run and get a jar and a can opener. And my
brother and I ran in for jars and our mother poked holes in the lids
and sent us across the lawn to catch the firefies. The air was the
temperature of our skin.”

Premiered by Benjamin Beilman and " Sunwoo at the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Art Museum, Merkin Hall, and the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston


Category
Chamber Works
Instrumentation
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