Fallen Starlight

Fallen Starlight is not a piece I intended to write. When Dr. Bradley Palmer asked me to compose a new work for the STS Professors’ Choir in the fall of 2017, I immediately began work on two sketches. Then, in January, I lost my wife of 19 years to suicide. After a period of shock and grief, I knew I had to abandon my initial sketches and start over. I found inspiration in James Wright’s poem, “To a Blossoming Pear Tree,” and wrote Fallen Starlight, a meditation on regret. Composed in a free, improvisatory style, it puts me in mind of the impromptu inventions performed by organists to bridge the time during communion in the Anglican church of my youth; intensely personal, ethereal and impermanent. I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Palmer and my wonderful friends and colleagues at the Southeast Trombone Symposium.

Beautiful natural blossoms, 
Pure delicate body, 
You stand without trembling. 
Little mist of fallen starlight, 
Perfect, beyond my reach, 
How I envy you. 
For if you could only listen, 
I would tell you something, 
Something human
Young tree, unburdened 
By anything but your beautiful natural blossoms 
And dew, the dark 
Blood in my body drags me 
Down with my brother

 - James Wright

Dedicated, with love, to Shannon Pedigo Skaggs, her unfulfilled promise, and all the music she’ll never hear.
- Andrew J Skaggs