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Nocturnal Tidings

For Piano, Soprano Voice, Violin, and Percussion

In writing "Nocturnal Tidings," I endeavored to create a piece that, despite its varied aesthetics, maintains an understated quality. The composition itself serves as a (mostly) auditory reflection of a very specific night during quarantine in Queens, New York. On that particular night, I did something rather unique for me, perhaps for the first time. With the moon high in the sky, casting a unique kind of vibrancy in the absence of the usual city hustle and bustle, I ventured into my neighborhood streets with my Nikon FE2, greeted by a fresh blanket of snow. My aim was to capture the essence of my community's institutions as I perceived them. While a select few of these photos may or may not be presented alongside this piece, they undeniably served as the foundational inspiration for the work.

Across four short musical vignettes, "Nocturnal Tidings" will transport you from the 'aha!' moment of inspiration, the instant I decided to embark on that walk, through the experience of snow falling at dusk, and the sights I encountered along my trek. The final vignette, in particular, holds deep personal significance, as it briefly explores my crisis of faith as it intersects with my feelings of fear and pride. The third vignette, maybe my favorite, provides a cheeky nod to something many of us have done at one point or another: purchase a car.

As you experience this piece, I invite you to step into my shoes. Observe the world as I saw it, and hear the streets as I did on that solitary night, with the snow underfoot, and not a soul in sight.

The vignettes are titled as follows:
I. Incandescence
II. Adolescence
III. God, Inc.
IV. I'm Fine

Commissioned by Westminster University as part of the "Hear and Now" concert series. It was premiered by Kimi Kawashima (piano), Hilary Koolhoven (soprano), Leslie Henrie (violin), and Jackson Prestley (percussion) on Nov. 20, 2023 at the Vive Gore Concert Hall at Westminster University in Salt Lake City, Utah. Devin Maxwell conducted.

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