That Which Pushes Back is its Force

saxophone (sop/ten) and piano (2016)

This piece is about rage. It came about through my reflection and interpretation on the significant role rage has played throughout human existence. ​Understandably rage is normally not considered virtuous or socially acceptable – but rage may also be seen as a deep expression of the will to live. I believe it is the root force that compels us to fight against injustice and oppression, and can be a significant power if properly cultivated. When transformed into the social realm, rage changes the world. So the question for me is: how do we transform our rage into something that does good? That Which Pushes Back is its Force​ renders a moment of reflection on the ​intensive ​seed within us that causes rage.​ The opening clusters of the work I felt were a metaphor for this seed, and the seed is transformed throughout the work, sometimes to a brutal end, and sometimes to an unexpectedly tender one.

Commissioned by Jim Fusik and Karl Larson

World Premiere

October 14, 2016
Augustana College
Rock Island, Illinois

James Fusik, saxophone
Karl Larson, piano