On December 5, 1994 the phone rang in our house. I was the one that answered. My aunt and uncles showed up at our house minutes later. I was very excited to see them, but something felt odd about their unexpected visit. I sat down on the couch, with my mother on a seat next to me. No one else sat down. They told us about my father. I was 15 years old.

He was found alone, lying beside his bed on the floor in his small apartment in Vancouver. He had been lying there for several days, but no one knew. The land-lady of the building was the first to notice she had not seen him for a while, and knocked on his door. There was no answer. She unlocked the door but the chain was in place. The police were called. He was dead. The light on his answering machine was blinking.


“Adagio Lamentoso” was composed two years later, at age 17. The first sketches date back to April 1997. It was originally the third (and final) movement of my second string quartet, subtitled “Requiem 5.12.94”. However, I decided to make an arrangement for string orchestra as well. The arrangement was premiered by the University of Victoria String Orchestra in April 2002, five years after it was written.

The movement opens with a double fugue, building up from the lowest registers of each instrument. The five numbers from the quartet’s subtitle are realized in musical terms: each number represents the distance of the notes in the first fugal subject (in semitones) from the tonal center (B). The fugue intensifies until both subjects finally collide together in a climax. Suddenly, the mood of the piece drastically changes and a peaceful chorale is played. At this time, the musical monogram ABBA (which is an Aramaic word for “father”) is quoted repeatedly by the 1st violins, and the music slowly drifts off into silence.


The following recording is from the premiere concert (April 2002). Carla Safrany, conductor.


A published score is not yet available, but will be posted at some point in the future.