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Distance Between Us, The

 

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Composer(s) / Arranger(s): Shaun Salem,

Performance Time: 7:29  |  Grade: 4

"The Distance Between Us honors all who have been impacted by the 2020-21 Covid-19 Pandemic that devastated the world. This work is a tapestry layered with complimentary themes and gestures beginning with the imagery of an old person sitting on a porch sewing a quilt, a metaphor for the fabric of America. An oboe solo opens the work like threading a needle through the fabric. The oboe's thread continues in other colors of the ensemble until midway through the piece. As instruments enter, we see people busy in their lives, working together in harmony and building to full density, a moment of collaboration and unity.

As the density fades away, the initial thread has moved from the Oboe at the beginning, through Clarinets and Saxes, then to the Tubas. The thread in the Bassoon brings the listener to an ICU with a heart monitor (Eb Clarinet) and a ventilator (Soft Snare Drum Rolls) where the subject of the piece is taken by the Coronavirus. The Oboe mourns with more voices echoing despair (a descending line beginning in the Tenor Sax). Trumpets enter, bringing comfort to those in mourning and hope to those in despair. The work concludes with a climactic tetrachord (Db, Ab, Eb, Bb), a “distanced“ sonority. Trumpets return the ensemble to the gesture of unity, and our subject from the beginning looks over of us from the stars, at peace."

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