I had written an unaccompanied piece, Cross Channel, for Sarah Walder in 2018 for a series of unaccompanied recitals she did in 2019. She had presented a terrific performance, and it was a wonderful experience. Then came the Covid Pandemic of 2020. Sarah, who was commuting between the Netherlands and Arizona a couple times every year, was stuck in the Netherlands. For much of the time she was also stuck in her apartment. We would talk every month or two, and her frustration was quite evident if not unusual for the times. I had recently written an unaccompanied violin work for Steven Moeckel and when I mentioned that to Sarah, she casually reminded me that she was also doing a recording, and that another cello piece would be nice.
So I have tried to write a piece that attempts to capture the useless anxiety we are all facing in the midst of these strange times. It tries to capture the restlessness that comes from hunkering down for months on end. Zoom projects and home recitals only provide so much satisfaction, and little if any financial reward. A musician is often driven by inner fire and artistry, and a challenging project of this sort seems a logical and sanity-maintaining solution to having one’s entire profession shut down.
Most of my music is derived from keyboard improvisations and Restless In Place and Restless In Loops are not exceptions. though it has taken some adjustment and imagination to rework something conceived on the keyboard. Sarah often performs with a loop station, and after writing this piece, I reworked and reimagined it using a looper. The looper version, Restless in Loops, is the work she eventually recorded.