Landscapes recording is up! I’m very proud of this work that I was able to bring to life with a group of incredible musicians. You can find it here:
Program Notes and Ensemble:
Landscapes is in part a summation of my experience here at Northwestern and in part a love letter to the world of wind ensemble music, both of which have contributed largely to my persona and have nurtured me in times of need. Each movement was titled after a location that has inspired or resonated with me in some way. Each location was chosen to represent a certain aspect of my time at Northwestern.
I. Route 13 (Streetlights Highway at Night)
The titular highway is one that runs through my home town of Ithaca NY. It traverses from the heights of uptown, where I spent most of my formative years, to downtown, where my high school lies. This highway sits directly on the East side of the valley and is flanked by the beautiful Cayuga Lake. Its steepness allows for some beautiful views of the lights of Ithaca at night. However, the scene that mesmerized me the most is not the glittering lights of the city itself, but rather the regular and rhythmic visual created by the streetlights as I remember them during my thoughtful drives just before coming to Northwestern. This movement represents the beginnings of my college experiences. I tried to capture the excitement and wide-eyed optimism that I felt during my first year as I explored the newfound opportunities and freedoms. Quotes of the Ithaca High School Alma Mater can be heard in snippets, composed by friend and colleague Michael Stern.
II. The Mountains
My first trips to the west coast can be directly attributed to my involvement with the band program here at Northwestern. The majesty and awe of witnessing true desert mountains up close for the first time was a powerful experience. With this movement I hope to convey the strength and resilience of the friendships and other interpersonal connections I have cultivated throughout my time at Northwestern, which I hope will keep as steady as those very mountains. I dedicate this movement to the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and their unyielding support.
III. The Cold, Dark Lake
For all its opportunities and vitality, the Northwestern campus can sometimes become a difficult and stressful place. Many students struggle with academic and social pressures that can often become overwhelming. It is a side of college not frequently discussed, yet extremely important to viewing the experience as a whole. This movement is my attempt at depicting some of my own struggles in this area. It is largely inspired by Lake Michigan, which during the day, can appear so calm and beautiful, yet become a cold and dangerous vastness at night.
IV. Stargazing from Skyscrapers
This movement is inspired by “The First Poem in the Imaginary Book” by Sarah Kay and “The Old Astronomer” by Sarah Williams, and is dedicated to Lauren Barmore. It is a recomposition of my previous piece “Stars of the Old Astronomer.”
This movement serves as a short interlude, referencing much of the material from the first movement. This movement serves as my connection to the musical aspects of this university, by quoting melodies from The Waa-Mu Show and the university Alma Mater.
VI. The City of Lights
There is an image that is perhaps the most strikingly poignant visual that I have witnessed in the past four years, which has seared itself into my memory. When driving Southwest on Illinois I-55 just after crossing the Des Plains River, most signs of civilization disappear almost as far as they eye can see. At night, this portion of the drive is surrounded by complete darkness, with the resounding exception of an incredibly beautiful array of glistening lights situated to the East of the highway. The large complex of yellow and orange lights and illuminated pipes on the backdrop of hazy smoke and pitch darkness resembled a city, alive and filled with hope. I remember being transfixed at the sight through the window of the back seat. I later learned that this was an oil field – the juxtaposition of the industrial and gritty reality of the place during the day against the majesty of the sight at night only added to the striking nature of that memory.
With this final movement I hope to capture the hopeful yet uncertain feeling that I have towards my future after Northwestern, and all of the complex emotions that accompanied my fourth year.
Haley De Boom