Alturas de Macchu Picchu (2011)
"Pablo Neruda's poetry is stunning. His surreal imagery and inventive use of language makes him one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century. After the premiere of 'Sì Jì, Reflected' in 2010, several of my friends asked if I might write them song cycles. Michelle Alexander, an absolutely brilliant young mezzo and the winner of the Regional Metropolitan Opera Competition and the Classical Singer Competition this year, was one of these friends. After finding this spectacular text, I knew I had found a true gem and began to study the poetry extensively. The text explores the depravity of modern, industrialized life, and yearns for a return to native roots and indigenous spiritual rebirth. In twelve movements, the narrator takes a spectacular journey as she climbs to the top of Machu Picchu, discovering the soul of man and becoming reborn in the process. Because certain themes are consistently used throughout the work, I decided to take a cue from composers like Wagner and employ short motivic fragments which reappear in developed form throughout the piece."