From The Sustaining Air
for string quartet
Premiered by The Rhythm Method at Lake George Music Festival on August 21, 2021
From The Sustaining Air draws inspiration from two sources. First, the poem by Larry Eigner which the piece is named after. The first thing that I noticed about the poem was the structure. The lines are scattered with unusual spacing in between. I interpreted this choice and the poem in general as a metaphor for how unpredictable life can be.
This piece also makes reference to the Harvard Bridge, which spans the Charles River in Boston. This site reminded me of times when I would occasionally cross this bridge with my friends back in Boston. I remember vividly how powerful and bright the sun was which, produced so much vibrancy and energy. I hoped to convey the feeling of sustenance and the emergence of energy and air in this piece.
Combining these two sources of inspiration made a lot of sense as I reflected on how I’ve missed three semesters of school due to the pandemic. This time has allowed me to remember fond memories but also question why certain things happen in life. This piece expresses optimism, joy, and excitement but ends with a reflection that’s both melancholic and nostalgic.