From a Higher Place
From a Higher Place turned out to be much darker than originally intended. The original title, From Your High Place, was not exactly the perfect fit for what the piece was really about, and Prof. Albert Lo (subconsciously) enhanced the piece to what it is today. At first, I meant for this work to be pretty, hopeful and understanding. It turned into quite the opposite and presented itself as a musical journey taking the listener through the five stages of grief. The piece begins with stage one: Denial. The calming chorale represents how one who has lost a loved one might try to subside their emotions through a tough time. The second stage, Anger, comes in as the music gains momentum by becoming darker with biting dissonances and building tension. Bargaining begins with two chime notes. This section grows darker and more chromatic as the listener loses all hope. The brass choir presents the penultimate stage of grief: Depression. Echoes of Anger reverberate as this solemn stage comes to an end until the resolution in the horns signal the beginning of Acceptance. The first chorale returns with a more melancholy tone through use of mode mixture. The last echo of Anger returns only to be extinguished by the feeling of true acceptance. The piece ends with a final statement that gives a resonant feeling of happiness and accord.
I conducted the premiere of From a Higher Place with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Wind Symphony in concert on November 11, 2014.