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Awaken

Commissioned By

Clem Pearson

First Performance

April 7th, 2023

Ensemble

String Orchestra

Duration

8 minutes

Program Notes

Jaclyn Breeze is a composer and flutist from Rochester, New York, and has been my friend and collaborator since 2020. Her work is informed by both contemporary and classical styles, including lieder (German classical song) and jazz harmony. In Awaken, her first work for string orchestra, Breeze turns her compositional focus to texture and tone color, employing the expressive versatility and dynamic range of the string instruments. The piece begins quietly, with a smooth and icy field of sound permeated by dissonant tones that grow and disappear. The titular “awakening” occurs about halfway through the piece, when rhythmic impulses subtly appear out of the glacial texture. The rhythm soon grows into a pulsating collection of small melodic ideas that are interwoven and passed around the orchestra to create a playfully chaotic mood. Then the insistent dissonances from the first section return, heralding a reunification of the orchestral texture as the piece reaches its conclusion.

        The imagery of an “awakening” suggested by the title is open to interpretation. It could be the awakening of a child from sleep before they go out to play, or the awakening of a mind that has grown to see complexity and nuance. Breeze’s composition asks us to both listen and to imagine. As you do so, perhaps your ears will also awaken to new sounds.

- Clem Pearson, 2023

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