The Spirits That Haunt Us

2022 – for flute/alto flute and bassoon/contrabasson – 3 movements – 11:30

Sheet Music

Score (pdf)


World Premiere: Mar 28, 2023, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Megan Lanz and Cayla Bellamy

Programme Notes

When Megan Lanz and Cayla Bellamy extended this opportunity for me to compose this work, I was very intrigued by the mental health premise they shared. In each movement, a different trait of human psychology is acknowledged and explored through the sound of the wind instruments, offering revelation and a path toward healing, balance, and happiness. The work is inspired by the cathartic journey of recognizing the traumatic occurrences in your past. Only through this process of acknowledgement can you move forward to a future of positive fulfillment.

1. Control: the manic state of feeling compelled to make everything right and have everything properly in place. Many of these everyday actions could be interpreted as superfluous or even compulsive. This constant need to control everything and being in an overwhelmed state is really a masking technique from dealing with bigger issues that are impeding personal growth.

Musical treatment: faster tempo, flute and bassoon are frantic rhythmically as they intermingle in a quasi-chaotic fashion. This is interspersed by a contrasting melancholic theme that reflects the bigger issues that the protagonist has not yet consciously acknowledged within themselves.

2. Trust: when a person finally comes to the resolution that they require help to better their life predicament. Who can they trust to help…a colleague, family member, friend? Do they have faith that that person will be sympathetic and guide them in the right direction? What if they feel like they have no one they can trust?

Musical treatment: for contrabassoon and alto flute, slower tempo, drawn-out notes. The music is filled with an eerily calm mood that has a tinge of despair.

3. Enough: when you question whether or not you are enough. Are you good enough at your various life roles? Do you have enough? Do you give enough? Through exploration, you can realize that these questions are irrelevant since everyone is always enough with whatever skills and traits they naturally possess.

Musical treatment: back to bassoon and flute, the uncertainty of the opening of the movement gradually morphs into a sound of beauty and joy symbolizing the positive self-realization that occurs at the end of this journey.

– Frank Horvat

New Music USA Awardees

Commissioned by Megan Lanz and Cayla Bellamy with the financial support of New Music USA and Colorado State University.

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