Of Love and Distance
Op. 19 (2018) for orchestra
Update: Of Love and Distance was read by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra as a part of the Music Alive Composers Institute in February 2019. Thanks to Stacy Garrop, Composer in Residence, and Stephen Alltop, Conductor of the CUSO, for the great opportunity and reading session!
Of Love and Distance is dedicated to and inspired by my wonderful girlfriend, Sarah Bromberger. This piece captures the essence of our relationship as it has evolved over the years, through perseverance, devotion, and a shared love of music. Sarah and I met at Augustana College in a theory course focused on Masses and early music. Shortly after our relationship began, Sarah left for a tour of Japan with the Augustana Symphonic Band, starting the first period of our relationship marked by long distance.
The Japan trip was only ten days long, but ten days is an eternity for a newfound romance. We quickly learned how best to communicate with each other over the distance, skills that have been indispensable throughout our relationship. Sarah graduated from Augustana a year before I did and started her career in music education, beginning a much longer and enduring phase of long distance as I continued my education as a composer at Augustana and at Illinois State University.
I wanted to create a piece that was at its core a love letter to Sarah while also depicting the reality of our lives: intertwined, yet distinct. As an oboist, Sarah loves the velvety tone of the English horn, which presents a slow theme of loneliness at the outset of the piece. That loneliness is countered with weekend visits, characterized by the trombones simulating long highway drives. To pass time on these drives, we would listen to some of our favorite composers, including Aaron Copland, David Maslanka, and Michael Gandolfi, all of whom are referenced in some way in Of Love and Distance. However, these visits are temporary, and the theme of loneliness returns, but instead of admitting defeat, Sarah and I look forward to a future absent of distance, as the loneliness theme is transformed into a triumphant celebration by a song from our favorite movie About Time (2013), entitled “How Long Will I Love You?”
Thank you to Glenn Block, Justyn Jost, and the Illinois State Symphony Orchestra for reading this deeply personal piece!
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