Performed by the Talea Ensemble at the University of Louisville, March 2016.
Grit is defined as “an abrasive material composed of hard, sharp granules” and also, psychologically, as a personality trait characterized by “firmness of mind or spirit, unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger, and perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Grit is thus composed to capture the dual meaning of the word.
The structure of Grit portrays concepts of perseverance, struggle, and courage in the face of adversity. This brief work makes abundant use of irregular meters, uneven rhythms, accents, abrupt shifts, and sharp dissonances which, combined, create the rough-around-the-edges sound of the piece. From the first moment, a heartbeat is set—ragged, relentless, and driving perpetually onward. This primary theme punctuates the piece, always different as it transforms through each section, but always returning—rushing to a breathless and triumphant finish.
University of Louisville Graduate String Quartet, November 2014.