Within the Wall

Date: 2018

INSTRUMENTATION: flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano

COMMISSION: Alia Musica Pittsburgh

DEDICATION: For Federico Garcia-DeCastro and Alia Musica Pittsburgh

PREMIERE: Alia Musica Pittsburgh


PUBLICATION: contact composer

PROGRAM NOTE: Within the Wall is a personal reflection on the process of making a fresco. Ever since I visited Italy in 1971, I have been intrigued with the art of the fresco. A fresco is not just a painting; it is an integration and complete fusion of materials (paint, plaster, surface). The process is long and arduous.

The music loosely depicts the various parts of the process—building the scaffold; preparing the wall; “cartooning” or sketching the subject matter; applying various coats of plaster (rough, scratch, smeared, smooth, etc.); crackling and drying; mapping the cartoon (prick, pounce, incise, perforate); painting (brown coat and final coat); constant climbing; evaluating. Not only have I been inspired by the glorious frescoes in the cities of Florence, Rome, Pisa, Luca, Venice, Assisi, to name a few, but I have also been touched and consoled by a poem of the great master, Michelangelo, as he “complained” about the difficulty and loneliness of making a fresco, of being an artist and the doubt that often plagues anyone in creative pursuits: “Who’s a painter? Me? No way! They’ve got me wrong.” (The Complete Poems of Michelangelo. Translated by John Frederick Nims)