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Program note

The Nearness of Things (2004; revised 2007)
Instrumentation: violin solo
Duration: 12 minutes

This piece hinges on extreme shifts in musical character. It is perhaps comparable to a theatre piece in which an actor plays many different roles, a piece that is both expressively and technically virtuosic. I was thinking a lot about performance practice when I wrote this piece. That is, I was thinking about all the things that players do that are not represented specifically in notation on the page. I wondered what would happen if I simply marked a passage “play as if you’re playing Vivaldi”, or, “French”, or “toss off casually, like a country fiddler”.

From another angle, I am fascinated by the fact that we encounter and relate to so many different musical styles in our regular daily lives. I wanted this piece to be a single, overarching experience—to feel substantial, even symphonic, in the way that a Bach Partita can feel so—and at the same time to make use of some of those common currencies, to say something about the mix, about the nearness of things. The Nearness of Things is dedicated to violinist Veronica Kadlubkiewicz.

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