Two Expressions is a work for SSAATTBB that I finished in 2015. It's two movements (One Heart & Today, The Sun Shines!) and 10-12 minutes long.
One Heart delves into a choice we must all make at some point in our lives. When troubles arise, what do we do? Are we bound together? Or do we set out to fulfill our own needs at the cost of others? This piece paints the text. It starts by acknowledging how great it is for hearts to beat as one. Then, it states the two opposing forces: unity and separation. Finally, it asks the question of all of us. What shall we do? Listen to how content the beginning is. Listen for the shimmering quality of the word “glorious.” Listen for the parts actually separating in “separation.” Also, think about your own answer to that question.
Today, The Sun Shines! represents a desire for a happy ending and a focus on the music, rather than the text. For this venture, the only text of the piece is the 4-word title. The music begins with an almost atmospheric quality, as dissonant chords are built, sustained, and then dwindle. Starting out in a closed setting with all notes quite close to one another, the piece gradually moves from darkness to light and to a more open sound through an intensely rhythmic section. Next, the word “sun” is introduced with a beautiful falling melody of chords. Not until “shines” is introduced does the music start to ascend and blossom. The final section uses the same chords as the “sun” section, only in reverse order to present a wonderfully free ending.