Composed: 2002
Commission: The Rocky River Chamber Music Society, for the Franklin Cohen family
Premiere: Rocky River Chamber Music series, Franklin, Lynnette, Diane, Alex Cohen, April 29, 2002
Duration: 18 minutes
Instrumentation:  Quartet for violin, clarinet, bassoon (or cello), percussion

I.  Prelude
II. Unfinished Song
III. Lament
IV. Searching – Revolving

This work was begun in early October 2001, three weeks after September 11.  I found that there was no way for me to compose without attempting to express in some way the numbness, anguish, bewilderment, and the beginning vague assimilation of a national life that would be changed.

Going from the first to the fourth movement through different states of before and after, the Prelude represents a premonition of worse things to come caused by continual low-level violence.  In the second movement a simple song, like an uncomplicated life, is begun.  But it is stopped abruptly and will never be continued or finished.  Movement three is a lament and reaction to the violent attack.  Like a conversation amongst people discussing the act of violence, each shares his/her experiences, thoughts and anguish.  There are lulls where no one can speak, or everyone is lost in thought, then sharing of thoughts and grief continue.  The fourth movement is a continual maze of searching for answers, revolving with the questions (and answers) of why, wishing for life as it was before, and searching for life as it will be now.

Lament was commissioned by the Rocky River Chamber Music Society and was written for and is dedicated to Franklin, Lynette, Diana, and Alex Cohen.


"It is a beautifully moody work representing the sensations of that day that began with such beauty and continued with such horror with great sensitivity and a minimum of descriptive emphasis, despite the percussion."  - American Record Guide, 2004