The Nearness of Things


Instrumentation: violin solo
Duration: 12:20
Available on Small and Mighty Forces, Albany Records TROY 1518

Streaming links:
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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.

Performance history: The Nearness of Things has been inhabited by Miranda Cuckson, who helped bring it to life in a very real sense; the piece would further not exist without the musicianship of Veronica Kadlubkiewicz, Gloria Justen, Hirono Oka, David Sariti, Sunghae Anna Lim, and Mayuki Fukuhara.