River Songs, for piano trio

Commissioned by the Ocean Reef Chamber Music Festival

Year
2014
Duration
20 minutes

Growing up, my family visited a place called Stehekin several times, most recently this summer. Stehekin is a tiny community adjacent to the North Cascades National Park in Washington State. It sits at the very end of Lake Chelan and is only accessible by float plane or a long ferry ride. Only around ninety people live in Stehekin year-round, and there is no phone or internet access.
This summer, we rented fishing poles and tried our luck. It turns out, the most unlikely suspect, my sister, became obsessed with fishing! She was trying morning and night. She was desperate to catch a fish--I had never seen her so determined. Finally, she caught a
huge rainbow trout! It was a very exciting moment. I had an idea to write a series of “River Songs”. The first movement, titled “A Fish Will Rise”, is a reference to a favorite book of mine, Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. On the last page, he writes: “...all existence fades to a being with my soul and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.” The second movement re-imagines some material from a previous work, and is called “Massing
Clouds.” Finally, the third movement is titled “Swan Song”. Here, I imagine Norman Maclean fishing the waters alone among the shadows, as an old man. This work is
dedicated to my sister, Bethany.

Premiered by Ida Kavafian, Efe Baltacigil, and Anne-Marie McDermott in January 2015

Category
Chamber Works
Instrumentation
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