Blue Oblivion

Blue Oblivion for 3 pianos, celeste, and 6 percussionists

I collaborated with the Lugano Percussion Ensemble once before in 2016. For this second project, the composers Mathias Steinauer from Switzerland and Benjamin Lang from Germany suggested we all write music for the Lugano group and add three pianos and a celeste. I would normally not write for such an odd combination of instruments. However, the project provided an opportunity to explore a multitude of timbres and create amazingly intricate textures using various rhythm patterns.

Blue Oblivion was written in the spring and summer of 2019. The title comes from the poem, Mid-Ocean by the American writer, William Rose Benét (1886-1950.) The work describes a trip across the ocean by ship. The last stanza reads:

Never was I so at peace, never so afraid.
Like the timeless time it was before the world was made.
Blue oblivion, largely lit, smiled and smiled at me, —
Atom in the void, on the Western Sea!

The poem took on deep meaning for me. My family was dealing with significant challenges but there was a moment of calmness despite lingering trepidation of what the future may hold. The piece fluctuates between moments of frantic turmoil to a sense of peacefulness, concluding with a slow, serene and unending march into the unknown.

Performance: Inselmusik—Konzertreihe für Neue Music in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Performed by the Lugano Percussion Ensemble and pianists from the Rostock University of Music and Theater (Germany). Gregorio Di Trapani, Luca Bruno, Armando de Angelis, Alberto Toccaceli, Sho Kubota, and Andrea Tiddi, percussion; Arkadiusz Godzinski, Anna Wielgus, and Grzegorz Nowak, pianos, Sebastian Godzinski, celeste; Simone Mancuso, conductor

Katharinensaal, Rostock University of Music and Theater (Germany)

Concert November 17, 2021