A deep reverberation fills with stars


Last night, I delivered the score, parts, and demo recording of “A deep reverberation fills with stars,” which I wrote in honor of Jonathan Grantham’s 20th anniversary at Amador Valley High School.

This is the biggest piece I’ve written since being medicated for ADHD (I was diagnosed in mid-2020), and it’s the most substantial piece I’ve written since the start of the pandemic. (I’ve written very little; it was basically impossible for me to motivate myself when concerts grinded to a halt. Things feel much more normal – and creative – again.)

So the idea with this one, partially by design, but largely just because it happened to turn out this way once I started writing, is that of emerging from darkness, “a deep reverberation,” with the return of some sense of normalcy, coinciding with, at least for me, some hope of an improvement of mental health.
That said, none of this piece is sorrowful. It starts with handbells! (Thank you, Larry Livingston, for your help with that!) But it does spend 8 minutes pulling back and forth between levels of tension before finally “filling with stars.”

It took way too long to write it. I get slower with every piece, but this was sort of ridiculous. I started it January 1, but it wasn’t until January 21st that I wrote something that would remain in the piece. It was all due March 1 – a date I missed by 24 days. All that, and it’s barely over 8 minutes long. I figured being medicated for ADHD would make me SUPER PRODUCTIVE but it doesn’t at all; it makes me SUPER METICULOUS, which, it turns out, is not a speedy trait. This is the piece that I spent over a week writing 30 seconds of music. (That 30 seconds starts on page 33 – 6:46 into the piece. Yeah, I started writing at measure 170. 🤷‍♂️ )

You can view the perusal score here. And here’s the audio.


Joan says

Pleasantly waiting, tickled by the chimes, or bells, I drifted off, oops, swayed back in, my ears on point, to the harmonious appropriate use of my trumpets, longing for their beauty and not brawn to be embraced, then off to the part where I must sit up as I listen, after cradling my closed eyes in my hands and head down were too reverent for the pull into the sky, the stars twinkling as I faced my self, my self, and my self begged me to be my best self, and I agreed we were friends, and the discordant note to warm me up into the imperfectness that is everything, (so well placed!), and I opened my eyes to see that the minutes of my life I had spent in audio had flown by and tripped me into a space I've not been to in a while. Thanks, Joan.

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