for piano solo

dedciated to Michael Finnissy

duration: ca. 6 minutes

Qui Tollis has two outer Serenades, differing only slightly in pitch and tempo, framing a larger central Movement.  The central Movement is made of three musics that continually re-order themselves, a rotating kaleidoscope of sound objects. There is a ‘window’ in this form — a single section that bears no resemblance to any other music in the work. The title translates roughly as “...who takes away...” as in “Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi... .” The epigraph is from Pablo Neruda, "XLIV" from Libro de preguntas [Book of Questions]:

Dónde está el niño que yo fui, sigue adentro de mí o se fue?/Sabe que no lo quise nunca y que tampoco me quería?/Por qué anduvimos tanto tiempo creciendo para separanos?/Por qué no morimos los dos cuando mi infancia se murío?/Y si el alma se me cayó por qué me sigue el esqueleto? [Where is the child that I was— inside of me still—or gone? / Does he know I never loved him nor did he love me? / Why did we spend so much time growing up, only to grow apart? / Why didn't both of us die when my infancy died? / And if the soul has fallen away from me why does a skeleton follow me?]

video of performance at New England Conservatory by Constantine Finehouse