inner palpability (2023)

For string orchestra


Commissioned and Premiered by The Next Festival of Emerging Artists and Peter Askim on June 2nd, 2023 at Performance Space 21 in Chatham, New York, and June 3rd, 2023, at The New School Tishman Auditorium in New York, New York.


11 minutes

Program Note

Inner Palpabilty takes inspiration from two main sources. One is a memory from December 2022 when I visited the redwoods in Northern California. I thought about the memories that the trees hold as they are some of the oldest species of trees. I was deeply in awe of the atmosphere they created. 

I then came across Will Alexander’s poem Inner Palpability. I found that this poem connected with nature and introspection themes I was already exploring. I also thought the definition of something being palpable which is, ‘’of a feeling or atmosphere so intense as to seem almost tangible.’’ The opening of Alexander’s poem is at the very core of what this piece is about. It says, ”Implied inner palpability as transpersonal dictation all works composed as a musical ark.” I wanted to create various sonic worlds that explore consciousness and feelings outside of personal identity. My way of approaching this concept was through the dialogue between Will Alexander’s evocative abstract words and the dense, lush, mysterious forest. 

The work starts with all the performers bowing over the bridge which produces a white noise sound. Subtle sounds including melodic fragments, crunches, hums, and airy sounds emerge evoking the cold, serene feeling of the redwood forest. 

The music then transitions into something ominous and suspended in the air. The music explores the tension in its stillness and gradually increases motion and intensity. A line from the poem, ”as if rowing in an isthmus of lightning and rising vapor currents hissing with dissolution” inspired the perpetual motion, violent attacks, and frenetic ricocheting gestures from the strings. 

‘’therefore suns appearing above suns ignited via the blue fragmentation that is grace,’’ inspired the last part of the work. The music became about this sense of revealing and looking upward to optimism. Images of the sky and imagery of ‘’suns appearing above suns’’ inspired these small bouncing gestures from the strings. These gestures increase motion and open up from its placid state. 

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