In Search of a Title (for solo violin…)

Choosing a title for a work is an interesting process.  In some cases a title comes easily, in other cases with difficulty; in some cases before composing starts, in others after the last note is written.  When I started jotting down ideas for my current solo violin work for Patrick Yim, I first wrote “Memorial” at the top of the page.  I think the backdrop of the pandemic was still on my mind.  Likely because of this, my work has a long middle section marked “Lamentoso.”  Soon into the process, however, I realized this was not just a memorial work, crossed out that title, and replaced it with “Memory.”  This, in turn, shifted to “Remembrance,” something a bit more poetic or affecting.  Finally, I settled on “Fragile Remembrance.”

My finished work, around 16 minutes in length, does have something to do with remembering and with memories and things that fade away.  But these memories are unstable, always shifting, and often interrupted.  They are the memories of every emotion—both tender and bitter—and also perhaps the memories of certain great solo violin works of the near and distant past.  But are these memories reliable?  I am very much looking forward  to sharing this work with the audience at Duke through the diligent work of my dear friend, Patrick.