The Companion Guide to Rome (2010)

scored for string trio
duration 30 minutes

Like many of the buildings in Rome, this piece is the product of a long gestation marked by numerous renovations, accretions, and ground-up reconstructions. What has emerged is a collection of portraits—nine in all—of my favorite Roman churches. The music is, at different times and in different ways, informed by the proportions of the churches, the qualities of their surfaces, the patterns in their floors, the artwork on their walls, and the lives and legends of the saints whose names they bear. The more I worked on these miniatures, the less they had to do with actual buildings and the more they became character studies of imaginary people, my companions for a year of living in the Eternal City.

The last movement of this piece, Sabina, was first written in 2006 for the Janaki Trio, who premiered it at Carnegie Hall. It exists both as a separate work and as part of this collection of pieces. The complete Companion Guide was premiered by the Scharoun Ensemble at Radialsystem V in Berlin on May 30th, 2010.

The work was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in music.