A Cry for Help (in Puritan America)

(orchestra: 3+picc., 3+E.Hn., 3+B.Cl.+Eb Cl., 2, contra, 3,4,3,1,timp.,3 perc., strings)

A Cry for Help (in Puritan America) is definitely a loaded title. It has a sense of tongue in cheek, but it also speaks to the expectation of purity American youth are taught that is inevitable to be broken. This expectation is taught by the emphasis the concept of virginity; the “not even once” drug programs; and the belief of  “once a cheater always a cheater.” We are taught early on that someone who has transgressed any moral barrier, whether purposefully or incidentally, has tarnished themselves forever. Does this build a stronger, more moral society? Or does it just leave its citizens ill-prepared for the inevitable destruction of purity? These are the questions the first part of the piece asks. With the answer calling out from the low voices in a syncopated rock chant that allows the ensemble to cut loose. Once tarnished, always tarnished? Then why don’t we live it!


This piece was finished on February 21st, 2019 and was recorded by the Lamont Symphony Orchestra under director Lawrence Golan and conductor Jorge Alejandro Salazar on May 6th, 2019.