Still Points


Still Points

Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra

Commissioned by trombonist Michael Becker and the Becker Foundation and is dedicated to him.

Program Notes:

Still Points: Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra was inspired by T.S. Eliot’s long poem Four Quartets. I had been captivated and moved by his meditation on time, spirituality, creativity and other deeply felt subjects since reading it in college. Serendipitously, I rediscovered it on a driving trip up the Oregon coast, in a tiny bookstore in a town I don’t remember.
 
After a summer of exhausting constant motion and conducting, I was taking advantage of an offer to live for a week in a house in the small coastal town of Pacific City, Oregon. The long drive along the water was the first time I had had to myself in months, and stumbling upon the Four Quartets seemed to me to be some sort of sign. The poem became my only companion during a foggy, rainy week of composing, reading, long walks and general rediscovering myself.
 
As I again entered the world of Eliot’s poem, certain evocative fragments and phrases drew me to them, evoking vivid images and sounds in my imagination. I decided to structure the four movements of the concerto around these shards of poetry, and the whole structure of the piece became suddenly clear to me. The musical nature of the text was both inspired by late Beethoven String Quartets and in turn inspired numerous musical interpretations over the years. The titles of the movements are taken from these fragments.
 
I. With frost and fire…
 
II. …whirled by the cold wind…
 
III. At the still point of the turning world…
 
IV. The detail of the pattern is movement…