Within Darkness- solo violin & chamber orchestra (17')
Premiere: January, 2000, Carnegie HallMartha Caplin, soloistCommissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as part of the national series of works from Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment Commissioning Music/USA with support from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund
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Within Darkness is an exploration of the textures and intensity found in dark spaces - physical (the night, the forest, shadows...) and personal (sleep/dreams). Living in light-filled New York City, I find that my reaction and appreciation of "dark spaces" is intensified when I am other places, particularly non-urban spaces. In addition to this heightened perception of light and dark, I am deeply appreciative of the "silence" that accompanies darkness. Within Darkness reflects, in a sense, what sounds "within silence." In the same way that a shadow in a Vermeer painting reveals its complexity when one moves in closer to it, darkness and silence reveal worlds of light and sound when one steps within them. I feel that sensitivity to light and sound is a profound awareness which is becoming more and more elusive in our modern society. Since the Orpheus Orchestra performs without a conductor, their awareness of sound and silence is a profoundly interactive ensemble experience - this piece was written in celebration of their dedication and spirit. In particular, soloist/Orpheus member, Martha Caplin has been an inspiring interpreter of my music in the past, and this "mini-concerto" was written with her virtuosity and power in mind.
"...in a piece grounded in drones, pedal points and ostinatos, she conjured a small riot of color... Along with further challenges to the orchestra, she afforded ample opportunity to the violinist, Martha Caplin. Although Ms. Botti is a soprano of considerable accomplishment, the solo writing was more violinistic in its technical demands than lyrical in any traditional vocal sense. Her basic idiom, in fact, was tough and gritty; it is a rare pleasure these days to encounter a young composer grappling with real emotional and psychological issues in fresh and modern terms rather than falling back on an easy post-Romanticism." -- James Oestreich, The New York Times
"Botti's Within Darkness for solo violin and chamber orchestra, takes the paintings of Vermeer and the idea of light and its absence (shadows and dark) as inspiration. A strong sense of pulse underlies the piece, giving momentum to the music's gestures. Low flute tones and frequent slides from the strings tied the piece to the tradition of anti-nocturnes: music that finds darkness more like needles of sound than a soothing enclosure." -- Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post