your eyes have their silence

posted in: Chamber, Composer | 0

String trio (violin, viola, cello), commissioned by The Rosetta Trio, 12 minutes. The piece has been performed at Memorial Church, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at the Toronto Music Garden.

First performance: 5 February 2008 at Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH as part of the Mornings with Music Concert Series, made possible by a grant from the Frederick C. Smyth Institute of Music.

The Rosetta Trio (Abigail Karr, violin; Sarah Darling, viola; Kate Bennett Haynes, cello)
Recorded at Futura Productions, Roslindale, Massachusetts; John Weston, Sound Engineer


Download a pdf of the score (for study purposes only).

For performance rights and materials, please contact the composer by e-mail at

Program Notes

When writing your eyes have their silence, I was struck that the pace of our lives seems to be ever increasing from one year to the next. New forms of communication technology appear every year. It was only 10 years ago that I got my first e-mail address. Since then have come instant messages, cell phones, text messages, and now, with the iPhone, a device where you can talk on the phone while instant texting your e-mails and googling to your heart’s discontent. As the world becomes hyper-connected, we spend more hours each day at work, going to and from work, going from place to place, and fewer hours “in between.” It is in the in-between where we have time for reflection, time for peace, and time for love.

The first movement (Presto risoluto) is today’s perpetual motion life. While the stream of events may seem chaotic and random, there is a constant manic drive of sixteenth notes that cannot be stopped. The second movement (Adagio e cantabile) is the antithesis of the first. It begins in the peace so desperately lacking in the Presto. I found my inspiration for this peace, this quiet, this love, in the poetry of e. e. cummings:

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence

Each instrument expresses this sentiment with its own theme. Soon the chaotic drive of the first movement begins to creep back in, shattering the fragile peace. Movement three (Allegro agitato) transforms the three peaceful themes into a manic frenzy: a furious fugue! The piece crash-lands in abject exhaustion into its final chords.