The Nameless Path

Medium: Chamber

Fl/Picc, Ob, Cl/Bcl, Alto Sax, Hn, 2 Perc, Hp, Pno, 2 Vlns, Vla, Vc

The Nameless Path is a metaphor for how the piece was composed. I began with a relatively clear idea of what I thought I wanted to happen in the piece, but at a certain point, I found myself in a place I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t a bad place, and truth be told I quite liked where I ended up, but I no longer knew what was around the bend in the path. In a sense, I let the music lead me where it wanted to go. Sometimes, I could see a little ways in front of me. Then I would have to pause, figure out where the music seemed to want to go, and continue on my way. It was unsettling at times, but exciting, too.

The music begins with a single E-flat. Gradually, other notes are added in a long, slowly unfolding melody. At times, we leave the path to explore something–an oboe solo, rustlings of shakers–always returning to the opening E-flat, returning to the path. Sometimes, the music is slow, sometimes pressing forward or drawing wild arcs across the page, other times rushing at breakneck speed. But it never loses its center. The Nameless Path is an invitation to explore, to try something a little bit new, to look around for a change and really notice things you take for granted. As such, I’ve made sure that there are plenty of details to draw the listener in. Hopefully, if you listen to it several times, you’ll notice something new each time.


Dec. 2, 2022

Commissioned by

Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition

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