Through Broken Pieces is a reflection on and response to my experience studying history through literature. I love the way my favorite authors describe both the most minute details of life – what people ate and wore, what their homes were made of, for example – and how big-picture events affected ordinary lives, from Viking invasions to religious persecution to war and diplomacy. At the same time, as much as we try to recreate and reimagine those times and places, we will never fully know what it was like to live in them; we will never walk the streets side by side with those who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago. I am left with the tension between the wonder of imagining these previous worlds and the longing or frustration of those worlds always being just outside my grasp. The title, Through Broken Pieces, comes from the way historians and authors try to recreate history from the broken pieces we have remaining: fragments of documents, historical artifacts, and other clues that give us insight but can never paint the full picture. The music grapples with the longing, mystery, and occasional clarity offered by these pieces.
Through Broken Pieces was written for Trio Immersio as a part of the 2021 ICEBERG Institute.