The music and lyrics of Songs of Hope in Strange Times: In Times of Descent was written during the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020-onwards and was commissioned by SACRA/PROFANA, directed by Juan Carlos Acosta. The overall song cycle is five movements long, with each movement reflecting on how to find hope and meaning during strange and unknown times of life. In Times of Descent is the frenzied opening movement of the cycle, representing those first chaotic and terrifying days when COVID-19 appeared in March, 2020 in the United States. The piece portrays this unsettling time through sinking, descending chromatic lines and heavy metal-inspired pulsating strings. This feeling of descending can be applied to those times in life when the world as we know it seems to fall apart and the end is nowhere in sight, such as the first days following a loved one’s passing, the minutes after receiving life-altering news, or other moments immediately following a tragedy. This movement acts as a mirror of the fifth and final movement In Times of Rising: using rising instead of falling lines, referencing the “sky and sea” (which are clouded by the darkness described in In Times of Descent), and other elements of contrast.
This movement could be performed as a stand-alone piece or as part of the entire Songs of Hope in Strange Times song cycle.
See other movements:
We descend below the surface
To where no light breaks through.
Is it here in total darkness,
Where there is no sky or sea?
In this floorless ocean,
Is it here the answer finds us?