Sorrow of the Earth
For Brass Quintet and Wind Band
Premiered 2016, Caldwell University Wind Ensemble and Tri-State Brass Quintet
Digital Score (PDF)
Sprial Bound Score
Spoken program notes:
Sorrow of the Earth...a depressing title! But a piece of art must express some idea, whatever shade of emotion it may be. Here, the title of the piece suggests the meaning of the work.
Taught from an early age that nature is an unending source of mystery and beauty, I also learned to believe humanity has been charged with the stewardship of our planet. The earth is ours to nurture and respect. How ironic that, in spite of our species' technological acheivements, we continuously and often unwittingly choose to destory the earth instead of care for it? Indeed, when we fuel our thirsty cars and power our cavernous homes, we each become an accomplice in a great crime; the wasting of the earth.
When I wrote this piece I was overtaken by the idea that our contemporary lifestyle is relentlessly driven by the materialistic need to consume. Truly, this need to "have" has become so innate that it has fundementally shaped the way we perceive the world. Ours is a society that proudly correlates "success" with lavish materialistic wealth like private jets and sprawling estates, while conversely we pity those with few posessions, calling them "poor". Furthermore we see our posessions as an expression of ourselves--a physical manifestation of personal milestones--though I assure they are feeble at best in this regard. Who you are is something far more meaningful and intangible than anything that can be owned. Yet if you want to life a life that forsakes the acquisition of wealth, you will be seen as the "other"--an anomalous, misguided, and even lazy element of society. Fail to contribute something of economic value, and the world will cast you out no matter how old, sick, or vunerable you may be.
I am not endorsing a return to some agrarian society, nor am I denying that I partake in the aforementioned cycle of consumption daily. In fact, I would take pride in owning a Chevy Silverado. There is nothing wrong with aquiring nicer things. But I am suggesting that, as Thoreau said in Civil Disobedience, "when the friction comes to have its machine, let us not have such a machine any longer. We would be wise to have a new machine before the friction we cause with the earth gets the best of us.
In closing, I reiterate that the earth God's greatest gift to mankind, and that while the misuse and nelgect of the earth is in itself a pitiable thing, that its wounds have come from those solely responsible for its care is, certainly, a great Sorrow of the Earth.