No Longer Very Clear (Holding a Daisy, Or Like a...an Engine, and Vast Antique Cubes/Throbbing Still published together)
The titles for these pieces were taken from lines of a poem by John Ashbery called "No Longer Very Clear." (However, as with Debussy's Preludes, the music came first.)
Holding a Daisy (1996) was commissioned by the pianist Sarah Rothenberg for a recital she was giving in New York City. The image is of a Georgia O'Keefe flower painting, not as innocent as it appears.
Or Like a ... an Engine (1994) is dedicated to the pianist Ursula Oppens who premiered it at Alice Tully Hall in New York City in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the radio station WNYC-FM, which commissioned the work. It is a motoric piece, somewhat like a virtuosic Chopin etude.
Vast Antique Cubes/Throbbing Still (2000) was commissioned by Franklin and Marshall College for the pianist John Browning who premiered both works at The Ann and Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts in Hensel Hall at Franklin & Marshall College on September 16, 2000. In Vast Antique Cubes, I wanted to create a sense of a very large space that moved quite slowly from low to high and higher still. Within this reaching upwards, are suggestions of Debussy and Chopin-two composers whom I played frequently as a pianist. By contrast, in the much more energetic and faster Throbbing Still, the music of Stravinsky and the Latin Inca rhythms that I grew up with in South America, continue to play a powerful role-to "throb still" in my music.