Lost on Chiaroscuro Street

Notes by composer Andy Akiho

"The title of the piece references chiaroscuro, a visual art technique that I find inspiring. Chiaroscuro, which is most commonly associated with the oil painting technique pioneered by Renaissance painters such as Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci, utilizes the stark contrast between light and dark to suggest depth and volume. I wrote Lost on Chiaroscuro Street in fits and starts over a few hectic months. Each time I would pick up the piece again, I was in a different environment—a different mental and literally physical space—and the piece plays on the contrasts in and the various internal and external catalysts in my environments and constantly feeling "Undone."

In Place(s) explores stretches of joy that are woven with moments of paralyzing urgency, periods of coldness, spaces of restlessness and nostalgia, and gleams of lightness. There is often a rhythmic repetitive motive portrayed by one instrument that stays in place against a collage of aural landscapes that travel from one memory to the next.

Interlude is a reflection on and departure from the hectic and undone—a simultaneous memory and anticipation sung by the solo clarinet. The Prelude and Postlude, guided by the cello, represents the deepest shadows, fading the experience in and out of the abstraction.

There is not a specific or consistent concrete narrative for my personal experience with this piece. My hope is that performances of this composition will provoke a unique narrative for each performer and listener based on their interpretations of the contrasts in characters of the movements."

Lost on Chiaroscuro Street was commissioned for Music@Menlo by Trine Sorensen, in celebration of Michael Jacobsen’s 60th birthday.