Song After Salkantay (2016) 8'
For flute, clarinet, oboe, piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
Premiered at the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, 8/6/16. Self-published (Morningside Press, ASCAP).
Shortly before writing this piece, I took a hike in the Andes with my family. We followed an Inca trail through the Salkantay Pass, a punishing but
rewarding trek at 15,000 feet above sea level. As we took in the vistas at the top of the pass, with the snow-capped Salkantay Peak peering down towards
us, we learned that the Incans had once worshipped the mountains as benevolent and sacred protectors. Up in that altitude, with the very many ancient, stoic rock faces surrounding us, that notion felt powerful indeed. As we observed the mountains that day, a tune kept floating across my mind, unbidden; I recognized it after a moment as a Tibetan folk song I had once studied. Its melody, too, was infused with a spiritual reverence for the highlands: it was sung by monks as prayer for long life amidst the peaks of
Tibet. It lingered around my mind for the rest of the day, somehow perfectly consonant with my own experience of sacred mountains. Song after
Salkantay takes that Tibetan melody as a source of inspiration, weaving it into a musical journey that somewhat mirrors my experience atop Salkantay – a
strenuous, energetic journey followed by meaningful moments of introspection and reflection.