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Primal Silhouettes (Orchestra)

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General Info
Year(s) Composed: 2015-2016
Duration: 6:30
Premiered: Fort Smith Symphony Orchestra
Directed by John Jeter
May, 14  2016

Primal Silhouettes is a work commissioned and premiered by the Fort Smith Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of John Jeter. It is a work that explores the inner brutality of humanitys most basic instincts and presents the withstanding question: are we all just animals or can we somehow rise above?


While our sophisticated societal structure and amazing feats of ingenuity have put us into a role as the dominant species on earth, I find it fascinating that we still exhibit many primitive animalistic characteristics. With all that we have accomplished, there remains the basic desires for sustenance, security, curiosity, power, and procreation. We believe that our survival is established on these principles, but unfortunately our race has done some very brutal things to establish itself as the fittest.


While there is hope for humanity, it may not come in our innate goodness toward one another. As we have seen throughout history there are shadows looming over the peace that we claim to desire, and those shadows come in human form. So, it makes sense that there is only hope in something transcendent, something that can literally save us from ourselves. Many have searched for it, and many more have claimed to find it. My searchings have lead me to believe in a book, which chronicles our desperate attempt to overcome our shortcomings over and again, and yet we continue to fall short. It isn't until a redeemer comes to take away our suffering on a tree that we realize that our desire for ourselves has been the problem all along. That the shadows of our humanity can truly only be removed through the redemption awaiting us in a savior.


This piece seems to progress from the basic primordial ooze of sound composition, to the rich complexity brought by polyphony, and eventually to the finality that only tonal order can bring us, albeit somewhat obscured by where we have been. In this way, I have chronicled my own path in life, and I have sought to bring about a redemptive narrative parallel to my own, where my old self is but a silhouette of the new.

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