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Good. [2018]

string orchestra and seven soloists - 8' 30"

Commissioned by the Brattle Street Chamber Players

Program Note

"I write this program note reflecting on how, five years ago, I attended this same Brattle Fall concert as a high school Junior visiting Harvard for the first time. In this light, the opportunity to write for Brattle this year came with a gripping desire to make a piece that embodied the absolute definition of perfection. Long checklists of emotional, aesthetic, and technical criteria racked my brain in the opening sketches. It was amidst these checklists that I found no space for me to actually create music. I realized that perfection, this notion of completeness, is like the statue of a Greek God: A static construction of ideals, one that does not breath. It is something not human, yet I strive so often to conform my human self to its nature. 

As much a theater work as it is a musical one, the soloists of “Good.,” (staged to the left) act out the striving, disillusionment, and surrender of this notion of perfection. The orchestra (staged to the right) embodies this perfection, and throughout the piece, the soloists attempt to conform their bodies its sound. The rigid, lifeless tones from the orchestra prove merciless in making space for the soloists to catch on. Their static constructed-ness leave no space for them to fit in. 

Within and without the orchestra, our soloists search for space to belong.

I could not have completed this project without the mindful care and commitment of Martine Thomas, James Hotchkiss, Cecilia Yao, Audrey Chen, and the rest of Brattle. Their enthusiasm, patience, and zeal for beauty has inspired me and my work in a way that will mark the rest of my creative life. I express my warmest appreciation and thanks to all of them." -Brandon

From the premiere, soloists (left to right): William Yao, Allison Pao, Freya Irani, James Hotchkiss, Sofia Tong, Nate Steele, and Cecilia Yao.

Performance History

11/12/2017 - Premiered by the Brattle Street Chamber Players. Harvard University. Cambridge, MA.

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