The Stars of November

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This piece was commissioned, performed and recorded by Power of Two Duo, with Kayla Solomon on trumpet and Danielle Guina on piano.

It is dedicated to Jonathan Paul Bruce Yaskowich, who was diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome while still in the womb and, heart-rendingly, came into this world stillborn. The piece explores the myriad of emotions that his parents felt during the time before his birth. The central musical mechanic is a repeating middle C, anchored between the treble and the bass clef; between two worlds, as it were. It opens repetitively and consistently, emulating a heart monitor as clustered chords stack above and below, surrounding it. The first section moves into alternating 7/8 and 5/8, exploring the excitement and joy around welcoming a new life into the world. But, as the section continues, the music reflects that something is wrong, mingling between hope and dread.

As the rhythmic C returns, it becomes displaced in the beat and we get a better sense that the tragedy will be unavoidable. The section following begins to explore acceptance – not immediately, but over time. The last section is, unmistakably, about letting go.