Laments and praises, images and reflections: For string orchestra



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


Laments and Praises, Images and Reflections for string orchestra (without string basses) was composed in 1997. The work (acttially in three large sections) is a musical exploration of three emotional processes: grief (Laments), yoy (Praises), and contemplation (Images and Reflections). The human need to find meaning in life's stages, events, and emotions was the inspiration for the work.

Laments, the first large section, musically portrays the emotion of grief The poet Kahlil Gibran. In his work The Prophet, said of sorrow, "When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight" (Gibran, pp. 35-36;. Laments conveys this sadness and yearning for people and times past through the use of minor sonorities, the Expressionist 12-tone techniques, extreme dynamic contrasts, stretto, and descending accompanimental figures. Praises, the second large section, through the use of a folk-like melody, quartal structures providing rhythmic accompaniments, changing meters, and hand-slaps, represents the stage in life in which grief gives way to joy. "When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy" (Gibran, p. 35). Images and Reflections, the third and final section, portrays life's events as one strives for understanding and reconciliation. "Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge" (Gibran, p. 62). Musically pondering the heart's knowledge. Images and Reflections displays such compositional devices as horizontal and vertical mirroring of outer voices, whole-tone scales, and extreme dynamic contrasts. A review of scalar materials and the Babbitt square of the twelve-tone row found in Laments and Praises, Images and Reflections may be seen in Appendix A.



Music -- First performances, String orchestra music -- Scores, Gibran, Kahlil, 1883-1931. Prophet, Musical analysis -- Scores, Music -- Interpretation (Phrasing, dynamics, etc.), Music theory -- 20th century, Twelve-tone system, Expressionism (Music) -- 20th century, Music -- Manuscripts -- Facsimiles