From Censer Smoke…

Ensemble: Soprano, Flute, Violin, Guitar, Piano
Duration: 5:00 minutes

Program Notes:

From Censer Smoke… (1994) was written for the Chicago new music ensemble Express, and is one of three planned movements.  The poem is about the way a certain aroma or sound will call up memories only associated with Christmastime.  Some of these memories will be of childhood Christmases, others will be recent or looking toward the coming holiday with anticipation or dread, some will be religious and others will be secular, some will be good and others bad, and so on.  The idea was not to fill in the memories themselves, but to write about that moment when some small thing triggers all of those memories and the “holiday” season begins psychologically for an individual.

The music changes rapidly and kaleidoscopically from pattern to pattern.  Some patterns are static, others are freer, and color is as important an element of change as pitch or rhythm.  Hopefully, the music and poem create an introspective look at what I believe is a shared Christmas experience.

From Censer Smoke… was written in Prague in the summer of 1994, and was made possible in part by a grant from the Czech-American Summer Music Institute.

Premiere: March 20, 2000
Birmingham Art Music Alliance concert
University of Alabama-Birmingham’s Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall
Birmingham, AL
Commissioner: Express New Music Ensemble