Laid upon the children (2014)

For flute (+ bass flute), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), viola, cello, bass, and percussion
Choreography by Leigh Schanfein
Duration: 21 minutes
Commissioned by Periapsis Music and Dance

World premiere: February 1, 2014
Symphony Space, New York
Kelli Kathman, flute; Arthur Sato, oboe; Adrián Sandí, clarinet; Colin Brookes, viola; Hiro Matsuo, cello; Lisa Dowling, bass; Sarah Mullins, percussion
Conducted by Jonathan Howard Katz
Dancers: Tucker Davis and Hannah Weber, with Shay Bares, Ariel Comeau, Chris DeVita, Elisabeth Jeffrey, Megan Jones, Oisín Monaghan, Isaac Owens, Rhea Roderick, Leigh Schanfein, and Christian Serrano

This work is available for retail purchase from Theodore Front Musical Literature.
This work is available for institutional purchase from Harrassowitz (OttoEditions) and Theodore Front Musical Literature.

Program note: This work was a collaboration with choreographer Leigh Schanfein for Periapsis Music and Dance, and premiered at the Music of Now Marathon at Symphony Space in February 2014. It’s a gloss on the story of Romeo and Juliet, informed by not only the Shakespeare play but also ballet settings of the work. After a brief introduction that invokes a Renaissance dance, and a brief Capulet duet that echos Stravinsky, it settles for awhile on the party scene, where Romeo and Juliet meet. Leigh had swing music in mind for this, so I found some ways to bring that sort of spirit into the language of the piece, and the bulk of the first half of this work is lighthearted and comedic. However, a sudden shift into the second half takes us immediately to the tomb, where Juliet appears to be dead. Romeo’s mournful dance with her is expressed musically in a long cello solo, and the work ends on a stark moment of tragedy.

An extended excerpt of the tomb scene (with dance) can be seen here: