Lift High, Reckon—Fly Low, Come Close


Instrumentation: violin, cello, piano
Duration: 10:30
Available on Small and Mighty Forces, Albany Records TROY 1518; Spotify, iTunes, etc


The title of this piece, Lift High, Reckon (Fly Low, Come Close), could refer to ordinary human experience, to effort and aftermath, to reaching and reckoning. It might also stand as a kind of descriptive summary of what happens in the piece: There are two distinct musical ideas in the first half or so of the piece—the very ‘lifted’, almost suspended, material of the opening and the fairly dry, ‘considered’ (reckoned?) music initially presented by the piano. The one floats, while the other digs in, carving out a spatially disjunct and yet groove-oriented world. As the piece unfolds, these two kinds of material grow and interact, resisting each other but also becoming integrated. Near the end, we come close to something simple, something elemental, a building block, that has perhaps been the hidden essence of things all along.

I’m grateful to Andy Waggoner, Caroline Stinson, and Molly Morkoski, who commissioned this piece and played its premiere.  I am also grateful to Matt Bengtson, Tom Kraines and Ghislaine Fleishman for their help in the earlier stages of the composition.