All Our Yesterdays was commissioned by the Chicago Chamber Musicians and written in the spirit of their millennium commissioning project. Its first performance was May, 1999.
It is intended as a humble tribute to many of the musicians who have contributed to the aesthetic discourse and cultural thrusts that have become a part of our heritage and helped us to understand who we are. To reflect the broad spectrum of those musics, the movements are titled respectively Here, There, and Everywhere.
Here (in thanks) refers to America, where African and European musics collided, resulting in the blues, gospel music, jazz, and eventually rock; the energy of these idioms derives from the jagged rhythms, pitch sliding, and “blue” notes not found in the common major scale. The movement conjures several of these elements.
There (in memoriam) refers to the European tradition that has, over the second millennium, evolved as our classical tradition; its expressivity results primarily from rich harmonies and intricate melodies. “In memoriam” refers particularly to those who have died in the wars and under regimes of this past century that have so shaped contemporary cultural forces.
Everywhere (in anticipation) refers to musics of the rest of the world which have, themselves, long traditions but which--along with other facets of globalization at the millennium’s end--are just beginning to enrich Western lives; the movement’s main theme, in fact, is a freely-adapted Bulgarian folk tune, and the solo passages draw upon several related styles. The movement’s subtitle “in anticipation” refers to the fact that musics from around the world are clearly important sources for future explorations and syntheses--and exciting music yet to be composed.