Cody W. Forrest (b. 1988) is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at New England Conservatory, where his string quartet, Book of Prayers, was a winner of the 2013 Honors Ensemble Competition. His music has been performed by the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble, Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Concerti Ensemble, hornist William Scharnberg, and harpsichordist Christoph Hammer, and he has been commissioned by Daniel Hege, the University of North Texas Theatre Department, and Kyle Hutchins of AVIDduo. Also of note, Forrest was a recipient of the 2014 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his piece To See the Stars Again.
Forrest holds an M.M. from Syracuse University and a B.M. from the University of North Texas, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. At Syracuse University, he was a recipient of the Heaton Fellowship, and at UNT he received the Martin Mailman Scholarship and the Outstanding Undergraduate in Composition Award his senior year. His composition teachers have included Kati Agócs, Malcolm Peyton, Daniel Godfrey, Andrew Waggoner, and Cindy McTee.
To See the Stars Again
Writing this piece turned out to be a struggle worthy of its subject matter. I began amassing material for the work in the summer of 2012 at the Atlantic Music Festival. As I continued working, the piece underwent many transformations over the next year and a half, until it finally coalesced into this current form.
It is often my goal to portray a spiritual journey in my music, which turned out to be the case with this work. The story is one of a soul’s revolt, its ensuing struggle to reconcile with the forces that brought it to that extreme, and ultimately its search for redemption. This soul is represented in the music by the melody line of the opening string chorale. Over the course of the piece, this motive takes on many emotional colors – from peaceful to uncertain, raging to joyous. Although the emotional scope of this motive is vast, the actual melodic cell usually remains unchanged; rather, it is the context surrounding this motive that is constantly in flux. Intermingled are other ideas that play supporting roles along the course of this soul’s journey.
Technically speaking, I perceive the piece as a dialogue of alternating theme groups. In the outer sections, this is expressed by two complimentary chorales, while the central section takes on a much more interruptive approach. It is this central section, through these competing theme areas, that represents the soul’s revolt, its struggle and desperate searching. The final section, although mostly optimistic, ends with a question – as if the piece is not over, but could continue on ad infinitum in the way our own minds are constantly wandering and searching for a perfect truth.