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I wake in the dark and remember (viola concerto)

I wake in the dark and remember
(viola concerto)

“Puckett should be a household word.”

Parterre Box

viola concerto
13 minutes

commissioned by a consortium led by Damon Talley and the Louisiana State University:
Hartt Conservatory, Glen Adsit, conductor
University of South Carolina, Cormac Cannon, conductor
Florida State University, Richard Clary, conductor
Temple University, Trish Cornett, conductor
Crane School of Music, Brian Doyle, conductor
Texas Christian University, Bobby Francis, conductor
University of North Carolina Greensboro, Kevin Geraldi, conductor
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Kevin Holzman, conductor
Texas Tech University, Sarah McKoin, conductor
Ohio State University, Russ Mikkelson, conductor
University of Puget Sound, Gerard Morris, conductor
University of Memphis, Albert Nguyen, conductor
Shenandoah University, Tim Robblee, conductor
Michigan State University, Kevin Sedatole, conductor
University of Oklahoma, Shanti Simon, conductor
University of British Columbia, Rob Taylor, conductor
Middle Tennessee State University, Reed Thomas, conductor
University of Minnesota, Emily Threinen, conductor
University of Montana, James Smart, conductor


Viola soloist

Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
B-flat Clarinets I-II-III (2 players each)
Bass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

Trumpet in B-flat I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Double Bass


Percussion 4 players:

1: Vibraphone (left)
2: Vibraphone (right)
3: Marimba/Tubular Bells [shared with Percussion 4]
4: Tam-Tam (at least 36”)/Large Suspended Cymbal/Tubular Bells [shared with 3]


Premiere December 1, 2022

I wake in the dark and remember was commissioned by:

Consortium organized by Louisiana State University, Damon Talley, conductor

W. S. Merwin’s poetry has been a constant in my adult life. His words bring me comfort in times of anxiety, smiles in times of happiness, and comfort in times of grief. 2020-2021 brought dicult times for all of us, and I once again found myself turning to Merwin’s words.

I rarely know exactly what his poetry means, but I love how they make me feel. #is was no dierent for the poem that inspired my viola concerto, I wake in the dark and remember. As I was writing, I rolled over the imagery in my mind: “wake in the dark and remember,” “listening to the black hour,” “you are asleep beside me while around us the trees full of night lean,” etc. etc. #ese images are so vivid and clear yet they lack any strict narrative, so my imagination became free to run wild and see the sounds the words inspire.

#e concerto is in two movements but played without a break.

I wake in the dark and remember was commissioned by an international consortium of Universities led by Damon Talley and the Louisiana State University. It is dedicated with great admiration and gratitude to the extraordinary violist Kimberly Sparr, who gave the premiere.

Below is the W.S. Merwin poem that inspired this concerto. Please take a moment to read these words and listen to the sounds they provoke in your own imagination.

W.S. Merwin Rain Travel

I wake in the dark and remember
it is the morning when I must start
by myself on the journey
I lie listening to the black hour
before dawn and you are
still asleep beside me while
around us the trees of night lean
hushed in their dream that bears
us up asleep and awake then I hear
drops falling one by one into the sightless leaves and I do not know when they began but
all at once there is no sound but rain
and the stream below us roaring
away into the rushing darkness

From !e Essential W.S. Merwin, courtesy Copper Canyon Press, copyright W.W. Merwin, 2019.

The movements are played without pause.



Consortium exclusivity ends December 1, 2023

Coming soon!