As I Heard When I Was Young is based on the free-form instrumental and a cappella gospel blues music that I heard in churches and at home when I was child. The music I heard during this time was often highly ornamented, had a flexible yet tightly coordinated pulse among its performers, and was both melodically and harmonically dense. In this piece, these characteristics of gospel blues music are also integrated with melodic elements from Malian blues guitar music, Dagomba flute music of Northern Ghana, and the flute and percussion music of the Haha tribe of Morocco, which I began listening to as an adult. The majority of the piece is in written in cycles of 11 or 7 beats, which is not typical of the musical traditions mentioned above. The piece highlights the deep roots of black American gospel blues music as it relates to my personal experience, as well as my current compositional work that aims to bring diverse musical cultures together.
As I Heard When I Was Young
For String Quintet
Contrabass (with C extension)
Ideally, all players should read from the score on an electronic device that can allow page turns without using your hands. If this is not possible you may want to use the 11×17 version of the score with fewer page turns.