Fallen is a narrative of despair, based on the poem “Sucidio” by Federico Garcia Lorca. The poet describes the decisive moment when a youth steps off a high ledge, ending a brief yet promising life. This poignant, heart-breaking scene is pursued in two-line stanzas, each a distinct and calculated step toward an inevitable ending. The extreme angularity of the prose and its bleak imagery inspires this musical imagining of that desperate moment.
Fallen opens with a hard-edged motive, played simultaneously by piano and cello. In subsequent iterations, the motif alternates between the two in rapid succession, each reacting to the other with a cool decisiveness that only hints at the underlying sorrow. Suddenly, the motive is transformed into a “twitchy” lyrical statement that reaches into the cello’s uppermost range before descending in a slow-motion, breath-catching free fall. Now, from the netherworld of the cello’s range, the music accelerates, rising and returning to real time as it races toward its ultimate and inevitable end.
Fallen was written for cellist Nicholas Photinos and pianist Yasuko Oura.