leaf (2020)


leaf is a duet I wrote for clarinetist Jonathan Jalbert and violinist Phoebe Liu in October 2020. It’s a small piece, and it’s a piece about feeling small—floating, untethered, fragile. I was living in New Haven at the time, taking time off from college for pandemic reasons. I had made a habit of walking for hours and hours after work every day, sometimes west towards the river and the music bowl, more often up past the abandoned gun factory and towards the ruddy cliffs of East Rock Park. I got to know the trees there really well—those beautiful New Haven elms and Japanese maples and gingkoes, whose leaves sometimes grow so big. September passed and those trees stood proud and green; by November the city was overwhelmed by these massive, whirling eddies of brilliantly colored leaves, thick and shimmering. That quiet in-between is when this piece takes place, when the first few leaves shudder bravely off their branches and start their journey home. I wrote a poem to pair with this composition:

leaf is a lament for the first of many. i saw him this year—

in a sweet and common northerly he snapped his brittle bone

and hung in place above my fogged-up glasses

as if to say,

“we are the same—

in flight, for now

in search of something greater

death will come

but not so long as we are in the air”

& the dapple of the sunlight showed

his useless little veins

The score for this work is for sale! If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please get in touch.