Vision was commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University in honor of Aspen’s Music Director, David Zinman, on his 70th birthday. It was written for cellist Yo-Yo Ma who premiered the work at Aspen with Maestro Zinman leading the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra on June 25, 2006.
Shortly after receiving the tremendous honor of this commission, I described my initial concept by phone to Yo-Yo Ma as “a search for clarity and sight, the protagonist first appearing as if through a haze and meandering through an imaginary forest of sounds, textures and tempos, finally discovering a transcendental realm without ambiguity or ambivalence.”
From the very highest register of the cello, a lyrical melody built on two-note “sighs” descends through a fog of intertwining arpeggios played by the violins and violas. This melody finds itself repeatedly engulfed by washes of orchestral sound as the piece progresses, only to re-emerge in a number of different musical contexts. Cast in one, twenty-five minute movement, the climax of this narrative is a huge surge of sound which, by way of an ever-growing tide of orchestral harmonies, finally overtakes the soloist one last time.
During the past year and a half, my mother has slowly recovered from the devastating effects of a brain injury. She struggled for what seemed like months to emerge from a semi-conscious, hallucinatory world devoid of focus or reason. As we waited for her to find her way through this fog and become whole again, I found inspiration for this work.
Vision is dedicated with deepest gratitude and admiration to David Zinman and Yo-Yo Ma, and to my parents.