How Majestic the Expanse (2018)

Commissioned by violinist Holly Mulcahy


Thomas Roggio and Gene Waldron III, violins

Program Note:

How Majestic the Expanse… was commissioned by violinist Holly Mulcahy as part of her prison recital program at Walker State Faith and Character Prison. Holly performed a piece of mine at one of the early recitals, and when asked which composers they wanted to hear in future recitals, the prisoners responded, “We want more Wolf!” They are very appreciative of Holly as well, and she asked that I write this piece as a reaction to a beautiful oil painting created by one of the prisoners, Brison Kinsey, which was presented to Holly after one of her performances at the prison. Painted on the back of the canvas, Brison included a poem. He also included a small quote of his own, “The composer is a prophet chosen as a channel… And it is the duty of the musician, who has been sent, to recreate this gift from God.” Working with his words, I attempted to create a collaborative piece with Brison that encompasses the power of the prison recitals and reflects my appreciation for all the people involved.

Bryson’s Poem:

How Majestic the Expanse…
The heavens jeweled cloak illuminates the darkness with celestial lights…
So too the minds of the living and the dead,
Awakened by a haunting refrain,
Lilting down through the corridors of time,
A gentle infinite pulse pushing the children of the most high
Onward to reach further on the path of life ascending
Upon the staff,
Between the bars,
We imprison the note,
Black fire on white fire,
Mere minute whispers of the voice of the creator,
Like a million violins cascading within our dreams
And in futility, we grasp blindly at the shadows,
Attempting to record the melody,
Only to capture but a glimpse
With which we seek to bless others with,
The message in music.

 Brison Kinsey


How Majestic the Expanse, pg. 3
How Majestic the Expanse, pg. 4


November 4, 2018: Thomas Roggio and Gene Waldron III, violins, Composer’s Forum Concert, BGSU Bryan Recital Hall, Bowling Green, OH

October 18, 2018: Holly Mulcahy and Mary Corbett, violins, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN

Premiered March 25, 2018: Holly Mulcahy and Mary Corbett, violins, Walker State Faith and Character Based Prison, Rock Spring, GA