Composed in: 1993
Instrumentation: Cello, Piano
Commissioned by: Dr. Paul & Dorothy Carlson
for Pacific Serenades
Premiered by: David Speltz, cello
Joanne Pearce Martin, piano
Publisher: Pacific Serenades

Program Notes

Over the several years before I wrote Abschied, I had to make many painful farewells—to my sister Jan, who died in 1985; to my companion of nineteen years, Charlie Swigart, who died in 1990; to the house we had lived in together, which I sold and moved from; to my first job at UCLA, which I held for eight years—and others. Though I tend to avoid foreign titles, the German word for farewell Abschied seemed so aptly to embody the multitude of feelings that I have experienced in this series of farewells. At the premiere performance of Abschied, two people—both recently widowed—approached me separately and said, without benefit of the explanation you are reading here, "I know exactly what you are speaking of in this piece." And though I am still touched by how directly the work moved them, I think that it speaks of experiences of other kinds of loss as well, and of the feelings that surround them.

The work was premiered on a Pacific Serenades concert in Los Angeles in May, 1993, by cellist David Speltz and pianist Joanne Pearce Martin.