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Instrumentation: solo violin and small orchestra
(0000/2000/strings – 220.127.116.11.2 minimum)
Premiere: Aspen Sinfonia
(Markand Thakar, conductor; Lev Polyakin, violin soloist)
Aspen Music Festival, Aspen, CO (July 2003)
excerpt from Grace
Grace was composed in memory of the late rock musician Jeff Buckley (1966-1997), with his haunting, ethereal voice and singular musical sensibilities in mind. His songs speak with an elegant simplicity worthy of the title of his 1994 album Grace, the only full-length release that he completed prior to his untimely death-by-drowning in the Mississippi River. As the title of this composition, “grace” is not indicative of a divine presence, but rather of an earthly beauty captured so eloquently by Buckley’s music, or more broadly, of what the literary critic George Steiner identified in his book Language and Silence as “the quick of the human spirit.” The score bears the following epigraph, by Pablo Neruda (as translated by W.S. Merwin): "Your memory emerges from the night around me./ The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea."
Grace was selected by David Zinman, music director of the Aspen Music Festival, to receive the 2002 Jacob Druckman Award for Orchestral Composition. The work was also recognized with a 2003 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award.