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To Look Within (1998)
violin duo
Duration: 14’

SMMP No. 112

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Premiere performance: Mandeville Center, University of California, San Diego, Feb. 25, 1998, János Négyesy and Päivikki Nykter, violins.

To Look Within, for two violins, was composed for János Négyesy and Päivikki Nykyter in memory of my grandmother, Sylvia. The piece addresses the thoughts and sentiments, myriad and complex, that one might experience after the death of a loved one.

The work has four major sections which proceed without pause. In each of these sections, the second violin plays from a different position on the stage. Each change in position corresponds to a shift in musical character. The dynamic posture of the second violin elicits an expressive response from the first violin, which remains at center stage throughout the performance.

Metaphorically, I prefer to think of the two violinists as both representing the same individual rather than that of two distinct personalities, where the first violinist is the outward manifestation -- that which is active, emotive -- and the second violinist is the protagonist’s memory, specifically concerning the departed. The sort of interior conversation implied by such a dramaturgy was a guiding consideration for the piece; when one contemplates the profound influence of another’s life, one enters a timeless space and looks within.