Climb is a letter-through-time to Beethoven to express my gratitude for his work, and to express our silent kinship. The work centers on D (the key area of Beethoven’s second symphony), and attempts to travel to Eb (the key area of his third). This small half-step is rendered infinitely large as the gravity of D keeps pulling the orchestra back into its orbit. Partly autobiographical, Climb explores aural metaphors for the physical sensations that are part of my daily life with dysautonomia. The piece opens with a frantic burst of adrenaline that soon gives way to the sensation of stomach-dropping nausea and tinnitus. A weak heartbeat emerges, racing, unsteady. Punctuated by brassy flashes of pain, the orchestra-body steels itself with determination, even optimism, before a violent attack of palpitations shatters its progress, melting into melodrama and mourning for a wellness and a wholeness that will never come again. In a cruel irony, the goal of Eb is never quite reached; the immutable D instead becomes re-contextualized as a leading tone that is, for all its efforts, unable to resolve.
The title is chosen to represent the challenge of living with any invisible illness or obstacle: some of us cannot simply walk up a flight of stairs, instead, we must climb.
Orchestral performance parts are available via rental.
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