Fifteen Ways to Splinter a Sunset | Violin & Piano | 5'
Fifteen Ways to Splinter a Sunset is a reflection on Norman Zammitt’s painting Buffalo Blue, which can be found at the Norton Simon museum
in Pasadena, CA.
In the painting, an abstract gradient of colors—not unlike those found in a California sunset—is fractured by horizontal lines. Viewing Zammitt’s painting, I thought of two opposing ideas: first, the overwhelming sense of peace that one might feel—that I felt—confronted with this particular blend of colors, and second, the fracturing that occurs over this image. At least to my mind,
that horizontal fracturing paralleled how I’ll subconsciously find myself dissociating from a moment, even a peaceful one, because of anxiety.
In writing this piece, I began to think about all of the ways one might take oneself out of a perfect, gorgeous moment: focusing on the past, looking for small flaws, and generally letting anxiety take over one’s thought process. I began thinking, too, of how that anxious splintering might translate to music: shifting tempi, alternating rhythms, and a distortion of timbre itself.
At our best, though, we are wholly present within a moment: engrossed with what’s before us. Aware that our life is more complex than this one perfect moment, but also fully immersed within it. Ultimately, that’s where the piece ends: fractured, yes, but wholly immersed in that beauty.
Fifteen Ways to Splinter a Sunset was commissioned by and is dedicated with gratitude to Panic Duo (Pasha Tseitlin, violin and Nic Gerpe, piano).
early drafts & composing notes
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