Prayers to Broken Stone

for clarinet, tenor saxophone, & piano

Composed: 2015
Duration: 17'

Program Notes

Commissioned by the Thelema Trio.

Prayers to Broken Stone (2015)
i. the dead land
ii. stone images
iii. supplication
iv. dead man’s hand
v. startwinkle (fading)
vi. death’s other kingdom
vii. waking alone
viii. lips that would kiss
ix. prayers to broken stone

"Prayers to Broken Stone" is made up of nine movements, performed continuously. The movement titles are all inspired by the third part of the poem "The Hollow Men," by T. S. Eliot. The poem is available in its entirety here.

I like Eliot's poetry very much; several of my pieces are titled after his work, and composed in reaction to his imagery. In this particular case, the poetry presents a number of compelling images and fragments, and I took those to form the movement titles. The music in each movement reflects the meaning of the title, and the way the various images fit together, to some degree. In the way I approached the composition of this work, I was also influenced by George Crumb's monumental piece "Black Angels," for electric string quartet. The formal structure of the movements in my piece is similar to that work, and the sound world is somewhat similar as well.

Score and Recording

Click the PDF icon below for a viewable score in PDF format (coming soon). For a printable score and other performance materials, including the necessary software, please contact me.

Link to PDF of score