Solace (2020)

30 min.

Solace is an extended piece written in solitude over the latter half of 2020. Unable for a long period to connect thoughts into form, I turned instead to scale, and the most consoling kind of music I knew: quiet, improvisatory scatterings of notes, aimless, wandering. Starting from a passage written in the wake of grief, I added a little music whenever the mood struck, without thought of where it would go next, or when it might end. Chords chime gently, ritualistically. Notes try in vain to form melodies. Fragments are turned over repetitively, obsessively, like shards of memories, or stuck thoughts. One in particular returns time and again, seeking a way forward – or perhaps just a way out.

The piece takes its title from a painting by Bridget Allaire, whose soft contours and muted colors I found very comforting at the time. An elegy for a year of much loss, Solace is music of sadness and survival, mourning and meditation, tranquility and transience, written only for myself – something I realized I’d forgotten how to do along the way.