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Near, Under, Far


For solo cello.

Premiere: March 2022. (Online)

Score: pdf


Near, Under, Far is a response to Luc Tuymans’ painting Die blaue Eiche (“The Blue Oak”). I was struck by both the loneliness and angularity of the painting, and sought to capture these two ideas musically.

As I was first sketching the piece, the region where I was living experienced extreme cold weather. Standing outside one afternoon during this cold snap, I asked myself: what is the opposite of Die blaue Eiche? I imagined a large blue oak, green with many leaves, somewhere in a field in California. I thought of viewing it from a close distance, from underneath its shade, and from far away on a distant hill. I then imagined these views of the long-frozen tree of Die blaue Eiche. In picturing these opposite scenes, I felt both unease and longing, which I subsequently set out to express musically (in addition to the painting’s loneliness and angularity).

Near, Under, Far was commissioned by Musaics of the Bay, San Francisco, California, and was composed for cellist Gabriel Cabezas.