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Commissioned by the SEC Band Directors Association
"My eyes are full of shadow, and my part
Of life is yesterday."
I've always wanted to write an "easy piece" for winds that explored the kind of long lines and introspective expression I tend to work with in the majority of my music. When this commission came along, the partners and I were excited at the notion of creating something in that vein for the many great high school and middle school groups as well as for the second and third bands at the fabulous universities across the southeastern united states.
It was with that in mind that wrote My Eyes are Full of Shadow.
I'm a person prone to melancholy. My mother used to say that I had periods of sadness interrupted by periods where I was happy about being sad.
As an adult, I've learned to be contented in these low periods and in those moments I seek out the healing power of music and poetry. Edith Nesbit's "Age to Youth," from which this work's title is taken, describes looking back on a moment of pain in the past and an inability—an unwillingness?—to move beyond it.
Finding this poem brought me great joy in connecting to its sadness.
My Eyes Are Full of Shadow opens with an optimism of a new day but as the cadences are consistently left largely unfulfilled, we realize something is amiss.
Each attempted restart of the opening results in another aborted cadence and now they are frequently interrupted by a simple, sad chaconne. Reflecting the poem's insistence on living in the past, this interrupting chaconne grows more insistent and eventually gives way to a return to the opening but now colored by the assertions of the chaconne.