Exciting news: The publication of my most recent orchestra composition "Bridges - An Ecological Tone Poem" is now available globally through amazon.com, and lulu.com. This is my first composition to be available internationally. But I plan to add many more in the future.
Hear and view and highlights of a performance of the piece select this link.
I began composing this piece nearly 10 years ago after strolling beneath the elegant Colorado Street Bridge and the massive I-134 Bridge built over the beautiful Lower Arroyo Saco Canyon in Pasadena, CA.
The concept of "Bridges" was inspired by a stroll in the Arroyo Seco area underneath the famous Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, CA. With its flowing streams, lush vegetation, and preponderance of wildlife, this part of the Arroyo has the potential to be a wonderful natural area just minutes away from Old Town Pasadena. But it has been seriously damaged with badly planned construction, dams, and drainage. As I walked along the trails I could smell beautiful plants and flowers, along with the stench of a sewer. Looking up I saw the three amazing and beautiful arches supporting the famous bridge. I thought that if we can create such a majestic and beautiful structure above, surely we can do better to restore the Arroyo to its natural beauty. The conflict between technological progress and ecological treasures such as the Arroyo is what inspired me to compose "Bridges." My intention is to focus on how the economic demands of society often run contrary to our ecological and spiritual needs.
The piece is comprised of four sections. The first section “Up” might be considered, from nature’s point of view, looking upward toward the imposing arches of the bridge. Musical motifs are used to suggest the Arroyo’s rich bio diversity - soil and water, microbes, insects, fauna, trees, birds and critters of all sorts. Three renditions of a towering musical pyramid reflect the three beautiful arches that support the bridge.
The second section, “Down,” is driven by a narrative on the bridge's construction. A pounding rhythm is elaborated into a rigid contrapuntal theme that depicts the complex undertaking of building the massive bridge. The destructive impact on nature is greatly felt but nevertheless the nature motifs from the first section occasionally peek through. In the score I used hammers, saws, and an electric drill as well as traditional percussion instruments, to create the clatter of a construction site. The arching pyramids return as the bridge is completed. From a bird’s eye view on the bridge we look down to the decimated Arroyo. Although the bridge is a great technological achievement, it has been devastating to the ecology of the Arroyo.
The third section, subtitled “Forward,” is intended to raise the question, "How do we balance humanity’s technological demands without diminishing our biosphere - our source of ecological and spiritual sustenance?’ A running melody is manipulated in a variety of ways ... forward, backward, upside down, and layered over itself, depicting humankind’s tremendous potential for innovation. At times the running melodies seem to collide or almost jump off the track.
The final section returns to the nature and arch pyramid motifs with a bit of hopeful reverence. But lest we become overconfident - let us remember the crickets and cockroaches will most likely be thriving long after we are all gone.