Three Graces at Perigee


About Three Graces at Perigee

Over the past few years I’ve been going camping with friends. I had almost forgotten how much I love being in nature, and trips to Joshua Tree, Yosemite, the Channel Islands, the San Bernardino Mountains, and elsewhere reawakened a sense of awe (or something like it) that had been asleep since I was a teenager. Part of that sense of awe has to do with the time-scale on which the natural world works. Compared to 2,000 year-old trees or the billions-of-years our planet has been around, we are very, very, very small.

The impetus for Three Graces at Perigee came from an urge to capture that thought. The Three Graces are three giant Sequoia trees growing in Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove. They’ve been there since before the European discovery of North America, since before any human I’ve ever met was born, and will probably – hopefully – be there long after any person alive today dies. To capture this idea I put rapidly changing tiny bits of music, that start and end on small (i.e. human) timescales, against a slow, gradually changing series of three-note chords (in this case played on vibraphone.

Perigee is the point in the moon’s orbit at which it is closest to the earth, otherwise known as a supermoon. I was in Yosemite during the summer of supermoons, so used the three of them as natural deadlines for sketching, writing, and editing.

Performance notes

The piece may either be performed outdoors at night or using the included backing track, which does not need to be synchronized. if performers would like to record their own track of local night sounds, they are welcome to.

Perfomances of Three Graces at Perigee

  • 03/04/2016 What's Next? Ensemble Lineage Performing Arts Center Pasadena, CA