Rise is an entirely abstract piece of music, in that there was no extra-musical imagery or narrative structure present in my mind while I was composing the work. The music nevertheless has a clear direction, and its two movements form a logical aural progression. The contemplative, lush adagio of the first movement gives way to, or perhaps launches, the continuous, rolling, yet angular, motion of the second. Underlying this transformation of character is the common component of a repeated cycle of chords ascending in stepwise motion. In the first movement, the cyclical progression slowly evolves to a clear dramatic climax before descending, while the ever-rising, persistent motion in the second creates a sense of unending upward momentum.
Though Rise is not programmatic, I believe the connotation of the title, and the corresponding nature of the music, implies a clear, unsentimental sense of optimism and hope.
Commissioned by: Amherst Saxophone Quartet, and underwritten by the American Composers Forum with funds provided by the Jerome Foundation
26 January 2002, Amherst Sax Quartet, Slee Hall, SUNY Buffalo