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a still small voice

I’ve always liked the softer side of the trombone, and the idea that truth can be found in the “still small voice” rather than the wind and the earthquake and the fire.

Mimesis: Jonathan Engle, flute; Mara Plotkin, clarinet; Scott Elliott, trombone; Sean Kleve, percussion; Nicholas Ong, piano; Sarah Lemons, viola; Erich Schoen-Rene, cello; David McMullin, conductor. March 7, 2009, Symphony Space, New York

When Pavel Mihelčič invited me to write a piece for Ensemble MD7, I had the idea for a short work with a prominent role for the trombone, in which the dynamic level remains quiet throughout. The title refers to the following biblical passage, which, among many other things, says something to me about the nature of inspiration, and seemed to fit well with the particular inspiration of this piece:

And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

(1 Kings 19:11-12)

A Still Small Voice was composed for Ensemble MD7 of Slovenia, who premiered it on July 9, 2008 at the festival Ljubljana. I conducted a revised version (with semi-improvised aleatoric section added to the beginning) in the US premiere on March 7, 2009 in New York with the Mimesis ensemble.