the plum tree I planted still there is a piece I wrote for pianist Adam Tendler's 'Inheritances' project -- in which he commissioned 16 new solo piano pieces with the inheritance his father left him.
Adam wrote a beautiful essay about his father, and his father's passing, which he shared with the composers. One line of the essay particularly struck me:
“I went to the house where I grew up, where my dreams still take place, the lawn totally overgrown, the plum tree I planted still there and the blueberry bushes he once planted, once so bountiful that strangers would visit with empty containers to pick them, still separating our property from the next house...”
This vivid image lingered in my mind. After losing my own father, I too went to the house in which I grew up, approaching it through the woods behind our backyard so that I could catch a glimpse of the Sycamore trees I climbed while my father did yardwork in his cutoff jeans. There is something both grounding and surreal about visiting natural landscapes from our past. Trees and plants often keep growing even after we abandon them, after our loved ones depart, after we depart. This piece is a short meditation on the singular ache they can inspire.
This piece, currently under exclusive rights to Adam Tendler, will be made available to the public on April 23, 2024.