for Oboe and Strings
Commissioned by Serenata Santa Fe and was written for oboist Pamela Epple.
Santuario for Oboe and Strings was commissioned by Serenata Santa Fe and was written for oboist Pamela Epple. Discussing the possibilities of a commission with her, I realized that each place that we had met was a beautiful, healing environment: Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival, New Hampshire; Hana, Maui and the Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe.
The chamber music festival in Apple Hill, New Hampshire is housed in rustic cabins on the top of a scenic hill in rural New Hampshire. It is centered on a supportive, nurturing approach to making music, and the beauty and calm of nature is part of the way of life there. The beaches and hidden rock pools of Hana, on the Hawaiian island of Maui, are lush and tropical, and seem infused with a sense of calm and centered spirituality. Finally, the Santuario de Guadalupe, in Santa Fe is one of the oldest churches in North America, and its simple beauty seems a place of safety and ancient wisdom. The patron saint Guadalupe is an incarnation of the Virgin Mary, and is known as a maternal, protective presence.
When contemplating a work that would be performed in the church, I wanted to somehow incorporate the idea of healing, protection and safety that I felt in each of these places. The work would be in three parts: sections which would not necessarily depict each of the places, but would have subtle and unconscious echoes of my state(s) of mind during those periods.
Often music in three sections follows a “Fast/ Slow/ Fast” pattern, where a central, quieter section is framed by two more energetic, aggressive or ebullient ones. I strove instead to write a work which progresses from turbulence through a more flowing, lyrical mood to a final, prayer-like section. The progression is Fast/ Slower/ Slowest, and reflects a desire to move from the chaos and pain of difficult events to a more peaceful, contemplative and prayer-like stillness. The work, like the situations that inspired it, is rough-hewn, born of striving and questioning, rather than being a neatly-wrapped up package of answers. It is a troubled and imperfect attempt to achieve peace, much like in real life.