Performed by John Cockerill, piano; Jessica Dussault, cello; Jessica Hanson, violin; and Becca Vieker, viola.
(2010) In the Fall of 2009 I was approached by a student piano quartet to compose a new work for their ensemble. I quickly created what would become the first movement, and they were able to perform it in the Spring of 2010. During the rest of the year I wrote three more movements to complete the work. The quartet, as a whole, is not programmatic, but the two interior movements allowed me to explore and deal with the emotionally charged issues of infertility, miscarriage, and loss.
I designed the first movement to be a highly energetic and joyful work incorporating stylistic elements of bluegrass and Celtic fiddle music. The second movement is built upon an original passacaglia, which is a repeating bass line, and re-purposes the Celtic lament Amhrán na Leabhar composed by Tomás Rua Ó Súilleabháin (1785–1848). The third movement, Rachel’s Wound, which is the most difficult to perform as silence is a structural element, references Rachel, the wife of Jacob, who was barren for many years (Genesis 29–30). The final movement juxtaposes the joy of the first movement with the sorrow of the inner movements in a bittersweet, yet hopeful way.