Recently, my family suffered the loss of a beautiful woman...my magical, angelic, kind, wise, strong, and humorous aunt Lois. So with the encouragement of her daughters and my own unresolved feelings, I composed "Circled Flight" to honor her memory. The compositional process was filled with mixed emotions that I wrestled with...mainly sadness, joy, and nostalgia. I thought the piece might first be heading towards a shorter and quieter quintet...but as I took my time reflecting on the memories I had with her and with the rest of our family...composing just took on a life of it's own. I reflected on memories yes, but tried to place myself in her shoes as I thought about her life, and also meditated on a poem she had left behind for her daughters. The poem she left... "Grieve Not" also known as "Do Not Stand At My Grave & Weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye was also a big part of the structure and inspiration (hence the title of the piece):
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
So...we take a "Circled Flight" over, above, circling around more gentle, quieter, magical, tender moments...alluding and leading to a building grandeur. My hope is to honor the indomitable spirit of my wonderful aunt, my family, and to offer a piece that might lend itself to the remembrance of anyone who has passed on in your life... yet still holds a special place in your heart.