Fall and Disappear

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Fall and Disappear takes its title from the final stanza of a hymn by Michael Franck (circa 1650):

Ach wie fluechtig, ach wie nichtig
Sind der Menschen Sachen
Alles, alles was wir sehen
Dass muss fallen und vergehen…

Oh, how fleeting, oh, how futile
Are the things of man
All, all we see
Must fall and disappear…

I like the poetry of this final phrase (and of, course, there’s an essential truth to the sentiment too). Actually (and tellingly), I’m also being a little poetic in my translation too: vergehen literally means “decay” or “vanish”, implying total extinguishing, but “disappear” is more ambiguous – there is a sense of unseen continuity. The music unfolds as a revelation and subsequent disintegration of a chorale – a chorale infused with the logic of a Javanese gamelan ladrang. A memory unearthed, and then evaporated.

Instrumentation: orchestra — 2+picc/2+cor ang/2+ bcl/2+contra – 4/3/3/1 – Timps – 3 Perc – Hrp – 16/14/12/10/8
Duration: circa 7′
Date of composition: 2011
Commissioned by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly for Garrett Sholdice portrait concert in RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Horizons concert series 2012.
First Performance: RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra; Gavin Maloney, conductor, RTÉ NSO Horizons concert series, 31 January 2012, National Concert Hall, Dublin
Recording: https://soundcloud.com/garrett-sholdice/fall-and-disappear-2011
Score: Please email orders@ergodos.ie to obtain the latest score.