Die Dämmerungen


Commissioned by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and premiered on October 5th and 6th, 2019.

Year Completed


24 minutes


  • Orchestra
Program Note

Die Dämmerungen was commissioned by and composed for the Buffalo Philhamonic Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta in the period of late 2017 – early 2019. The work is in four movements, each a musical musing upon varieties of twilights, referencing daybreak as well as sunset, the processes of aging as experienced individually, and within societies as cycles of time inexorably turn. For each movement, poetic inscriptions along with the movement titles, serve to frame the music.

The movements are:

I. Die Dämmerungen, with part 1 subtitled Morgendammerung and part 2 subtitled Abenddammerung and an inscription from poet William Carlos Williams: (reprinted by permission)

Sparkles from the Wheel

The descent beckons

As the ascent beckoned.

Memory is a kind

Of accomplishment.

A sort of renewal


An initiation, since the spaces it opens are new places

Inhabited by hordes

Heretofore unrealized,…

''The Descent'' By William Carlos Williams, from THE COLLECTED POEMS: VOLUME II, 1939-1962,

copyright ©1948,1962 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

II. East of Aurora, the goddess of dawn and a sense of personal, rather than collective, place…with an inscription from contemporary American poet Dana Gioia (reprinted by permission)

“The Burning Ladder”

Dana Gioia


never climbed the ladder

burning in his dream. Sleep

pressed him like a stone

in the dust,

and when

he should have risen

like a flame to join

that choir, he was sick

of travelling,

and closed

his eyes to the Seraphim

ascending, unconscious

of the impossible distances

between their steps,


them mount the brilliant

ladder, slowly disappearing

into the scattered light

between the stars,


through it all, a stone

upon a stone pillow,

shivering. Gravity

always greater than desire.

III. De Profundis clamavi… Psalm 130, a song of ascents… From the depths I call to thee… a prayer from moments near to the abyss…

IV. Götzen-Dämmerung, a direct reference to Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, somehow directly relevant (again?) in an age of shrill, incessantly repetitive propaganda…

The work is approximately 24 minutes long, and in movement three calls for the inclusion of low instruments contrabass clarinet, and contrabass trombone, emphasizing the darker colors possible within the orchestral palette, as appropriated to the subject matter directly at hand in III.