As Sparks Fly Upward (2006)
Bb clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion
Duration: 7 minutes

Written for the Ernest Bloch Composers’ Symposium, June 29 – July 10, 2006
Premiere: Dunja Jennings, clarinet; Ron Blessinger, violin; Adam Esbensen, cello; Susan Smith, piano; Gordon Rencher, percussion, Performing Arts Center, July 5, 2006, Newport, OR

Other performances:
The Playground Ensemble, May 30, 2007, Bethany Lutheran Church, Denver, CO

The Playground Ensemble, Pendulum Series Concert, September 26, 2007, Boulder, CO

The Playground Ensemble, Modern Miscellania, March 25, 2008, Denver, CO

Program notes:  
      From its opening, As Sparks Fly Upward, bursts into motion.  “Take time by the forelock,” says Henry David Thoreau, whos admonition propels the piece.  “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”  As the piece progresses, two spheres emerge:  the temporal sphere heard in jagged motives and syncopated rhythms, and the celestial sphere in the high instrumental ranges, long melodic lines and slow harmonic changes.  The rhythmic punctuation of the piano, cello and snare gradually diminishes while the violin and clarinet lines spiral upward, reaching that place Thoreau found “under our feet as well as over our heads.”

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