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The title comes from a TIME magazine essay. In the issue of 14 December 2020, an essay by Stephanie Zacharek was headlined “2020 Tested Us Beyond Measure. Where Do We Go From Here?” and concluded with the line used as the title of this piece. The article spoke of American democracy having been tested throughout the challenging year of 2020. This is the final paragraph of the essay:
Will it (democracy) hold? Americans are inherently optimistic. It’s why our allies like us, even if they secretly mock us behind our backs–but we don’t care! We’re a nation with our thumbs perpetually stuck in our suspenders. Our optimism is our most ridiculous trait, and our greatest. It can’t always be morning in America. Sometimes we have to get through the darkest hour just before. The aurora bides its time.
The work was requested for a group of young musicians in New Plymouth. The approach came from Sreeram Murugaiyam, a flute student of Jocelyn Beath for whom I’d written a number of pieces since the early 2000s. The unusual combination of instruments all came from Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth: flute, violin, marimba and guitar.
The work is essentially a single movement although in three clear sections — two slowish sections followed by a faster energetic final section. The title had little bearing on the shape of the music, but it seemed to match the idea of the final burst of energy waiting beneath the surface through the earlier parts of the work.
The work is dedicated to Sreeram, Reuben, Clarence and Robert