Lalitree Darnielle

+ music + 
  Durham NC

Orchestral/Chamber Music

Works suitable for intermediate string orchestra, string quartet, or other string ensembles. Contact for score availablity.

ALONG THE GREAT CIRCLE [2024] for string orchestra

An exploration of motion and rotation. Commission by Duke University String School / Premiering April 2024

THE PULSE OF SHADOWS [2024] for string orchestra

After the peacefulness of a sunset, a different world comes alive in the darkness. This piece begins with a smooth, chorale-like opening section, which gives way to rhythmic motion with an undulating melody and countermelody floating on top. The largely dorian modality gives it a mysterious yet active feeling, evoking the restlessness of the night or a march through middle earth.
[ score/performance video ]

A DAFFODIL OUT OF SEASON [2023] for string orchestra

The title of this piece, a reference to the John Cage composition "A Valentine Out Of Season", juxtaposes the serenity of a flower with an unsettling sense of being out of time or place. It also raises the spectre of climate change and a world no longer in sync with itself.
[ listen at your choice of streaming services ]
[ score/performance video ]

THE PASSING DARK [2023] for 4 cellos

A piece written as a personal exercise in how to find creativity in limitation, of both instrumentation and mood.
[ listen at your choice of streaming services ]
[ score/performance video ]

THE TIDE-BEATING HEART OF EARTH [2022] for string orchestra and soprano

The title and text for this piece are an adaptation of a passage from Moby Dick chapter 111 (“The Pacific”). In this small, 4-paragraph chapter, the narrator imagines that ocean’s waves are caused by bodies of sailors buried at sea, tossing and turning in their deep eternal sleep. He goes on to declare that the Pacific Ocean essentially spans the entire world, “the Indian ocean and Atlantic being but its arms”, and that its tides are the heartbeat of the earth itself.

"There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath; like those fabled undulations of the Ephesian sod over the buried Evangelist St. John. And meet it is, that over these sea-pastures, wide-rolling watery prairies and Potters’ Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness."
[ video ]

THE YEW-TREE WALK [2022] for string quartet

In some cultures, the yew tree symbolizes death, transformation, and rebirth, due to its highly poisonous nature, long lifespan, and ability to propagate itself. The Yew-tree Walk is the name of a garden in the book Middlemarch, and the location of a pivotal scene in which these themes of death and renewal, of loss giving way to new life, come to bear on the lives of the characters. This piece reflects this theme of transformation in a musical form.

“When Lydgate entered the Yew-tree Walk he saw Mr. Casaubon slowly receding with his hands behind him according to his habit, and his head bent forward. It was a lovely afternoon; the leaves from the lofty limes were falling silently across the sombre evergreens, while the lights and shadows slept side by side: there was no sound but the cawing of the rooks, which to the accustomed ear is a lullaby, or that last solemn lullaby, a dirge.”
[ listen at your choice of streaming services ]
[ score/performance video ]

Pop Music

You Are Returning

A dark, incantatory pop song backed by a quartet of strings, with electronic percussion and a sprinkling of synths. available on Bandcamp.

The Lateral World

A three-song EP available on Bandcamp. Made at home by me, using Logic Pro for recording all of the vocals, instruments, production, and such. "Shambhala Pass" attempts to capture the feeling of a specific paragraph in Thomas Pynchon's Against The Day (page 891, if you're curious). "New Eruptions" is about underwater volcanoes building into islands, and how it sometimes feels like that inside a body, and "Ascent Into Ice" was inspired by video of scientists at the edge of the crater of Mt. Erebus in Antarctica.

Folk Songs

Simple tunes written for the Indie Strings folk ensemble

"The Parting Glance" [ score/performance video ]

"From Stars" [ stream ]

Older Songs, Covers, and Arrangements

The Beatitudes [ score/performance video ] - Martynov's piece arranged for cello quartet

"To Catch a Sparrow" [ mp3 ] - a song about getting close

"Wasted Years" [ mp3 ] - an electronic cover of the Iron Maiden song

"Cossack Lullaby" [ mp3 ] - an a capella arrangement of the Russian folk song


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Get In Touch

All inquiries: email me.