Wendell Berry’s beautiful sonnet begins with the line: “Who makes a clearing makes a work of art.” While this poem is about an actual clearing in the woods, Berry’s words made me reflect on how many ways there are to make a clearing — both outwardly and in our own souls — to receive beauty.
This work was written as a gift for Frederick Peters, someone who has generously and thoughtfully created a clearing for so many musicians, and helped bring so much beautiful music into the world.
Who Makes a Clearing
live recording from Tanglewood Music Center
Eva Martinez, soprano; Sage Park, violin; and Benjamin Fryxell, cello
This work was premiered by musicians from Copland House (Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano; Siwoo Kim, violin and Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello) at the Century Club in New York City on September 15, 2022.
Additionally, the work was pre-premiered (due to COVID rescheduling) by Catherine van der Salm, soprano; Sasha Callahan, violin and Leo Eguchi, cello at the Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival, outside of Portland, OR on August 13-14 2022.
“Soprano Catherine van der Salm, violinist Callahan, and cellist Eguchi conveyed Who makes a clearing with an elegant simplicity. Tones from the violin and cello slid upwards in layered phrases that were capped at times with tremolos. Salm’s warm voice glided between them, sometimes with a straight tone and at others with minimum vibrato. It created a fine balance between East and West that felt comforting and unique at the same time.”— Making a clearing with Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival by James Bash, Oregon ArtsWatch