On the island of Elba, off the coast of Italy, I composed this work as the sun was rising over the ocean in the mornings and gently sifting through the clouds against the lingering fog. As the piece developed, it took on a shape of its own and gradually became centered around diminished chords and the interval of a tritone (diminished 5th). I love these chords for their angst and for their sadness, but also for their flexibility.

My piece is very textural in nature; and yes, it does have a melody of sorts, and yet this melody comes and goes, and is never quite grasped until the end. Portions of it are repeated and spun out creating layers of sound without the heaviness of form. It is indeed a depiction of mist, where one minute you see things and the next they are gone. As you move through the piece, you find that the trumpet is also an antagonist, creeping in with a haunting cry; a reminder of things unsettled. Throughout the piece, we are quietly searching. We search for a tonal center for stability, and also for a melody that will make us feel fulfilled. Once found, we hold them for an instant, and then like the clouds and like life itself, they are gone. We are warmed by their presence and saddened by their loss.

I hope that you will reflect upon your own memories of life’s quiet moments as we enjoy the New York premiere of this new work together. “Mist” is not a piece to be analyzed, but rather a piece to be experienced and absorbed. As you listen, release your mind, embrace your emotions, close your eyes, and allow the mist to creep in.

—Diane Wittry

Mist
By Diane Wittry
Composed in 2014