music > alabaster rounds
alabaster rounds (2006)
scored for string trio
duration 9 minutes
In October 2006 I visited the church of Santa Sabina on Rome's Aventine Hill. I entered very early in the morning, while it was still dark, and as I listened to the morning mass I watched the sunrise from within the ancient church. The light in Santa Sabina is unique; the large clerestory windows are not made of glass but of translucent stone, and when light shines through these intricately patterned windows, luminous designs appear all over the church's marble and mosaic surfaces. As I watched the light grow and change that morning, I was struck by both its enveloping warmth and the delicacy of its effects. I sketched the material for this piece, in the form of a slowly unfolding round between three stringed instruments, soon after.
Alabaster Rounds was commissioned by the Janaki Trio, who premiered it at Carnegie Hall in January 2007. They gave a memorable performance of the work in the church that inspired it later that spring, and have since performed it many times on tour.