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Program Notes

This piece was composed on the theme of untimely death. When I heard about the sudden death of friend from elementary school, I drew a line of what I felt. This moment became crystallized in the architecture of the piece.

 Time on the horizontal axis, intensity on the vertical axis.

Time on the horizontal axis, intensity on the vertical axis.

Throughout the process of composing this work, I struggled to articulate both the frustration of untimely death and the warmth of joyful remembrance. From Time to Eternity's timbres and structure reflect this dichotomy. Sections alternate between dark loss and the warm memories.

The title comes from the writings of Quaker and philosopher William Penn, who also struggled with untimely death in the early days of Pennsylvania's colony, and wrote in Fruits of Solitude, "For death is no more than a turning over of us from time to eternity.” Although the quote reflects Christian belief, it resonated with me primarily as a physical truth. The matter in our bodies was manufactured by collapsing stars, and someday the dust of our bodies will return to that celestial state. For the briefest moment however, we experience time, and from that springs our experiences of love, story, anxiety, memory, and even music itself. Then, in a moment, we return to the eternal nature of unconscious matter.

To reflect both the impenetrable mystery of death and the eternity that lies on both sides of it, I based composed the piece with a nonatonic scale composed of three symmetrical parts.

 The nonatonic scale, also one of Messian's third  modes of limited transposition .

The nonatonic scale, also one of Messian's third modes of limited transposition.

This never-ending knot of a scale gives voice to both the frustration of loss and the contemplative release of letting go.

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