for solo guitar
duration: 10′
commissioned by guitarist Krystin O’Mara
winner of the 2014 Boston GuitarFest Composition Competition

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Program Notes

An obsession is much more than a fixation. Though it may be fixated on a single subject, an obsession is a remarkably complex, nuanced story with a number of emotional entrapments. Joy, devotion, pain, and embarrassment can all be induced—sometimes simultaneously—by a single obsession. OBSESSION therefore follows a journey through the compulsive, dangerous, passionate, and, perhaps most importantly, the beautiful. Though energy levels shift through an array of moods, the piece always concentrates on a fervent undulating pattern, and a withheld sense of intensity lingers below moments of surface-level beauty. In fact, an obsession’s beauty is quite strange; only in the midst of an obsession does beauty finally reveal its unhealthy allure. Similarly, the music evaporates by the end of the piece; the undulating material remains intact, but only its essence is left.

Premiere: November 19, 2013
Princeton Sound Kitchen, Princeton Arts Council
Krystin O’Mara, guitar