They But Sleep

for mixed quintet
Commissioned by the Society for New Music and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
7 minutes

Program Note

They But Sleep was written for the grand re-opening of the Matilda Joslyn Gage House in Fayetteville, NY. The idea for the work was originally derived from a quotation from Gage. When talking to Sally Roesch Wagner, Director of the foundation about the restoration of the home it became apparent that the architecture and journey through the house would be influential on the work. Interestingly, the structure of the journey and positions of the rooms created a multi arc structure, from which focal points seemed to balance one another. Noticing this, I decided to incorporate this structure into the linear structure of the work.

Even the cricket was still. The frosts of approaching winter had hushed his song. He was dead, and all nature, too, seemed dying; but faith said there is a summer beyond. These sleep now, but by and by they will awaken again. I looked at the mounds about me and faith again whispered, “These are not dead, they but sleep! There is a summer beyond where friends meet again.”