With My Last Breath
for Wind Ensemble
Another faceless victim draws their last few breaths in a war-torn street. Fighting through their pain, the victim struggles to understand the senselessness of the situation as their end draws near. What can be the purpose of such unsurmountable loss? With My Last Breath explores the crisis in Ukraine providing a commentary on the shared loss of conflict. My own ties to Ukraine, through my Eastern European heritage, have led me to question my role as an artist in times of political turmoil.
The music in this piece ebbs and flows in waves keeping pace with the anonymous victim as they fight for breath. The melodic and harmonic gestures stem from various transformations of the first seven notes of the Ukrainian national anthem. While the first half of the piece reflects anguish, confusion, and tension, there is a tonal divide where the second half transforms to become ethereal and a color differentiation becomes apparent. This symbolizes a change in the victim who relinquishes their pain and embarks on a supernatural escape. The piece is woven together with reactionary themes demonstrated through pitches and melodic ideas that build on one another creating a chain of gestures symbolizing our interconnectivity and the consequences of our actions.