The Aggregate of Our Joy and Suffering

for clarinet, violoncello, and piano
Duration: 16 minutes

Program notes:

On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 took the first-ever picture of our planetary family, and within this is the famous picture of Earth known as the “Pale Blue Dot.” Astronomer Carl Sagan reflected on this picture in a 1997 essay:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joys and sufferings…”

The music written here is my own personal reflection of these words and the craft carrying evidence of our existence beyond our solar system. On board the Voyager craft is a golden disc that contains pictures, diagrams and music from Earth, including Bach’s Prelude in C major from the Well-Tempered Clavier Book II. Within this piece you’ll find this prelude drifting in and out and finally fading into the nothing.

The Aggregate of Our Joy and Suffering was composed for A/Tonal, and premiered on March 1, 2014.


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