Circles (2018, rev. 2019)

for solo bassoon


Commissioned by the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, for Midori Samson

Premiere: 5 June 2018. Buntrock Hall, Symphony Center, Chicago, IL, USA | Midori Samson

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“...The eye is the first circle; the horizon

which it forms is the second;

and throughout nature this

primary figure is repeated without end…”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Circles" (1841)


Circles was inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay of the same name, in which he discusses the various metaphorical circles that can be found in life, and society. I did not try to stick too closely to it as model for the work, though. Instead, I thought about the very basic idea of circles and cycles. A big part of such circles is the lack of noticeable development which, again, Emerson touches on in his essay. As a response, I tried to write a piece in which I utilised two motifs (if I can even call them that) that do not seem to move logically from one point to the next are therefore always in a state of development.

There is no meaningful end point.

Audio recording 
Midori Samson, bassoon
McKnight Center for the Performing Arts Recital Hall, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA, 13 November 2021