The Wind in High Places
John Luther Adams
featuring the Del Sol Quartet
I love this perspective, standing at the base of this collection of trees wrapped together, looking upward.
Sculptures have often been placed on pedestals. It makes them stand out, elevating the work above the world and people below. Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire stands out and blends in at the same time, his chosen medium being the trees themselves; the art is surrounded by its own medium, something endlessly familiar for musicians. As there is no void for music to exist in, everything musicians create blends into the surrounding sounds that fill the space, the same materials from which music is itself created. No single piece embodies this idea more than The Wind in High Places, composed by John Luther Adams, a luminary in the music world, particularly with regards to the content of these concerts which underscore the relationships between man, nature, and craft. In many ways, Adams is much like Goldsworthy, creating art that is simultaneously feels quite natural, and yet could never have actually arisen naturally. In this piece, the string players never play a solid note, instead they are entirely playing open strings and harmonics, truly giving the piece a sound like a glowing, resonant, colored wind. Listening to this piece, it is easy to envision the opposite perspective of someone sitting atop Spire, looking down at me as I look up, feeling The Wind In High Places.
It is a special treat to hear this piece performed by The Del Sol String Quartet, one of the most amazing new music specialist ensembles, and one of the ensembles which has inspired me to push my own compositional skills.