in misty heights and distant sea
“In Misty Heights and Distant Sea” is a piece that is primarily concerned with the idea of changing perspectives. During a summer trip, I went hiking along a trail that began in a small coastal village, and gradually climbed its way up and wound around a series of seaside cliffs. At first the path was relatively narrow, following a set of stairs that had been carved into the side of the terraced hills. However, as the trail reached the top, the view gradually opened up, giving way to the vast ocean and the surrounding cliffs. As I walked, I noticed that I could see the village where the path had begun, and how different it looked from so far up. The village also became a fixed point that served as a constant reminder of the distance that I had traveled, and of the path that I had already come upon. At times the village would disappear behind a cliff or the foliage of a tree, but it always came back into view. The path continued around the winding cliffs, and another village marking the end of the trail slowly came into focus, just as the first village was fading off into the distance. As I continued walking, I became fascinated with this concept of perspective, not only in the physical world but also in every facet of life. Our views of the events that shape our lives, and the values and ideas that result from them, are constantly changing. They change through contemplation and reevaluation, and through the ever-shifting lens of our own memories. We are not, at the end of the path, who we were at the beginning; our view of the horizon ahead is always affected by that which is already behind us.
Concert Premiere: February 10th, 2013, by the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Saya Callner conducting, Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI.