I.  Seethe
II.  Breathe

Performance History


  • 5 December 2016, Paul Hall, Lincoln Center, New York, NY
    Ariana Nelson (cello) & Adam Rothenberg (piano)

Program Notes


Responses was written for cellist Ariana Nelson and was completed in mid November 2016. Two starkly contrasting movements present different responses to the same raw musical material. Personally, this piece is my response to the build up to the 2016 Presidential election. The music is filled with harmonic and rhythmic tension that reflects the looming anxiety I was experiencing before the election.

The first movement, Seethe, molds the material into savage running 16th notes in the cello. Mixed in with these more violent passages are moments of high register tremolando effects alternating with low register pizzicato glissandi, which offer an eerie counterpart to the opening gesture. The middle of the first movement contains the only respite, which foreshadows the more expansive sound-world of the second movement, entitled Breathe.

This movement takes this same musical material as the first and transforms it into an aimless and ambiguous running 8th note line in the piano. As a listener, this line is difficult to follow or trace its direction, but as we get lost in it, it becomes oddly comforting.