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Spacious Air

string quartet (2020)

performed by Quartet ES
Excerpted poem (video version only) “Like Air” by Laura Hershey


Duration: 3 minutes
Commissioned by: Quartet ES with The Hartt School of Music
Premiere: May 5, 2021
The Uncertainty of Fate Festival
Livestream Event via The Hartt School of Music

program note

Silence is powerful. It is a primary element of my musical language. Maybe it came from attending Quaker school growing up. Through years of weekly Quaker Meetings, I learned to value and understand silence.

As an adult, I find myself craving silence. To me, it makes music sound so much more compelling. It provides a framework for the sounds, and the frame’s size and scope affect the nature of the sounds.

The relative silence was a “silver lining” for me during the long pandemic experience. I could hear sounds outside previously obscured by the bustle of daily life. Many more birds, trains in the distance, and the sound of snow falling. It seemed like if you listened closely enough, you could hear the earth breathing. There was less movement in the air, like a bird gliding or the still surface of a lake. That sense of spaciousness served as the inspiration for this music.