Buffalo is a piece dedicated to several of my friends and their families who have lost their mothers. It was inspired by a Laura Kasischke poem of the same name, from the collection Dance and Disappear. The poem is a meditation on motherhood, spirituality, loss, and the intimacy found within life’s small joys.
These elements become apparent through contrapuntal development, vertical harmonic progressions, and the unfolding of melodic ideas. They create imagistic moments that arise and recede at times gently and violently, much like the poem – and grief – itself.
Clarity and immediacy are fundamental to the piece: relationships are laid bare for the listener so that each development attains an elevated intimacy. This intimacy extends to the score itself, where performers are asked at times to play as though the music is inhaling and exhaling.
Hopefully, by the end of the piece the audience has had a space to reflect and become immersed in the meditation.
Buffalo was premiered at the College Music Society 2023 national conference in Miami, Florida by pianist Charles Geter.