Paraclete Program Notes

 Israel Heller commissioned this work.  When I compose, I often write about things that are important to me rather than just abstract music.  For this work, I wanted to meditate on and explore the identity of the Holy Spirit.  Paraclete is a word used to describe the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.  I chose to focus on three prominent episodes from the Bible where the Holy Spirit is featured, and ruminate on those through music.  In the first movement I imagine the Holy Spirit hovering over the beginnings of the Earth.  The movement is in a modified sonata form, with an aggressive, fast theme, a transition that uses jeté bowing, and a calmer second theme.  These ideas are developed but only the first theme returns at the end.

 The second movement recalls the presence of the Holy Spirit at the baptism of Christ.  The work is designed as an inverted arch and begins with a theme derived from harmonics.  This is then presented in a very high register and gradually descends.  The work then builds to a dissonant climax, calling to mind Christ’s fate.  After this, the theme from the opening returns, and climbs again to the highest register of the violin.

 The final movement is a chaconne (a set of variations on a series of chords) and reflects on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.  This work is quick and aggressive and meant to evoke image of a powerful fire.