Before and After

Before and After (2016-20) 46:00

for flute, clarinet, electric guitar, piano, and bass
Commissioned by the Fromm Foundation (Harvard University) for NOW Ensemble.

Album release in 2021 on New Amsterdam Records.

I.               Chant (c. 4:30)

II.             Frontier (c. 5:00)

III.            Spread (c. 8:30)

IV.           Cradle (c. 3:00)

V.             Artifact (c. 1:30)

VI.           Rally (c. 6:00)

VII.          Solo (c. 7:00)

VIII.        Done Deal (c. 10:30)

Before and After is my imagining of moments during a civilization’s lifespan, from rise to fall, and a reflection on our place in the rhythm of the world’s much larger and longer patterns. The piece is comprised of a collection of connected vignettes rather than a linear narrative, with movements presented like memories of a story whose outcome is already known. The movements depict a range of themes related to the concept of the piece, including: our idealized notions of the beginnings of civilization; the transformation of “growth” from something positive and necessary to something destructive; nostalgia for our personal and collective halcyon days, whether real or imagined; and the struggle to persist against perhaps irreversible trends. While Before and After was completed in February 2020 just weeks before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be felt in the United States, the sentiments of the piece have undeniably come into sharper and more urgent focus since then.

Recordings from live performances of select movements by NOW Ensemble.