Stories I Cannot Tell You  — a lyrical, charming and then deeply foreboding and sinister meditation on being here (or not).  In three movements, fast – slow – fast, played without pause. 18′  1-1-1-1, 1-1-2, 2 perc, piano, 5-5-4-3-2.  Commissioned by the League of Composers / ISCM, US Section.  Premiered by the Orchestra of the League of Composers, in Miller Theatre, NYC.  Get a study score here.

The work opens with a steady, slow pulse followed by upward sweeps, each a tad different from its predecessor. Fragments and phrases appear, dissolve and reappear, as we wander deeper into a progressively darker ‘story’. Tunes or gestures that had been ‘main events’ turn into transitional events, and with each successive repetition, a phrase is compressed.

In the middle movement, two waltz-like fragments surround a lounge-y cocktail music tune (vibraphone). It exits, submerged in dark pulsing chords in the strings, alternating with winds.

In contrast to movements one and two, the third movement pursues its doom-filled musical business directly.  Imagine a flock of blackbirds flying south, high in the sky, just before dawn. Two people see them; one has just nearly escaped death. The other says, stuttering, “Do you, do you see the blackbirds flying south?” and then, “I see you watching, do you see them?” and finally, “Will you be here when they return?” You may be able to hear the text, ‘sung’ by the brass instruments.