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Frontlash is defined as “a counter-reaction to a political backlash.” When I first heard this term, I was unaware of its true meaning. I mistakenly assumed that while a “backlash” was a strong public reaction against an event, a “frontlash” was a strong reaction against an event that had not yet occurred. The latter misconception of the word framed my initial thinking about the creation of this chamber work.
While composing this piece, it was impossible to escape the seemingly unending turmoil surrounding the White House and a deeply troubling sense of chaos engulfing society. Both the true meaning of the word “frontlash,” as well as my initial misunderstanding of the term, seem to describe the current troubling state of American society.

To illustrate my concept of a “frontlash,” each of the members of the ensemble, at various points throughout the piece, present solo statements which are immediately and aggressively interrupted by the other three instruments before the soloist has an opportunity to fully articulate the idea. I purposely tried to compose calming and thoughtful musical material, unique to each instrument, for the solos. Sadly, the beauty I believe inherent in each of these solos is never fully explored and developed. The solos are always destroyed by more aggressive voices.

If crushing musical ideas in a small chamber piece is sad, how much more tragic is it for our society when beautiful voices of reconciliation, understanding, empathy, and peace are likewise shouted or beaten down – to be lost forever?


from Unheard​-​of​/​/​Dialogues, released January 19, 2019


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