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for two violins

Duration: 6 minutes

Premiere: September 6, 2019

Marie Comuzzo and Victoria Senko, violins

Five College New Music Festival

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Program Note:

Imagine yourself partway up a free-solo climb of a wall of towering, Biblical beauty and proportions, such as El Capitan in Yosemite. You have no climbing partners. No ropes. It's just you and the wall.  

You stretch out one foot, test a new hold. It's insecure, you retreat. Try again. And again. Once more. This time you surely got it. This means you can ascend to the next position.


You look up in awe. The top glistens in the morning light. You're still a long way down, but you're inspired. One more step. Then another. And another. Before you know it, you're halfway up.

In all your excitement, you look down…You're not supposed to, but you do it anyway. And your heart races. The height is overwhelming, dizzying. You panic. Seized with anxiety, your palms and feet begin to produce a slippery secretion as they quiver, loosening their life-sustaining grip.

Somehow, you gain sight of your next hold. A warmth envelopes you, and massages you into the rock. You gain your hold again.

It's time to say a prayer. Having heard your call, the violins conspire in a dark, sticky chorale in four-parts, whose voices begin to religiously slip-and-slide between notes: musical sweaty palms desperately sliding up and down, little by little, along the staff and bar lines.  

At this point, descent is not an option. You must continue. One hand, one foot, the other foot, the other hand…again and again. You're closing in.

Nothing is for sure, but you make the final push to the top with a rush of adrenaline. Did you make it…???

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