Way back in September 2011 I put up a post called "History of a Composition" that discussed a piece I wrote for guitar orchestra. I have just come across a recording of that piece so I have prepared a clip of it. The original inspiration was simple need: I had a large guitar ensemble and it was so difficult getting them to play exactly together that I thought I would write a piece where they never had to!
I knew about "moment form" so I wrote a piece called "Forms" that consisted of a series of boxes arranged like a flowchart. You started at the top and followed the lines. There were ten numbered levels so you could just go through playing each level in sequence. Most levels had options: you could choose from three or four different musical ideas. Since I conducted the piece, that allowed me to make choices as well. By signaling I could tell specific players to play specific levels. For example, the first level is a snare-drum effect. By crossing the two lowest strings over one another and strumming, you can make the guitar sound a lot like a snare drum. What I liked to do was to recall this level later on in the piece, so it sounds like chaos is going to overcome. Of course, every performance will be different, but the conductor can shape how it unfolds in various ways. The score is like a toolbox for building a piece and the conductor--with the players--can build a different piece every time.
About the title: as I said, the original title was just "Forms". I had an inspiration one day walking by the ocean and looking at the late afternoon light shining on the Sooke hills. Sooke is a village and adjacent wilderness area near Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. My idea was a piece for "string quartet" of mandolin, banjo, guitar and double bass and the title that came to mind was "Long Lines of Winter Light Falling Gently Across the Sooke Hills"! Well, I never got around to writing that piece, so I appropriated the title for this piece.
A few years ago a Swedish publisher put out an edition of three pieces of mine for guitar orchestra which included this piece. On the clip I have the front cover of the publication, the two pages of the score of this piece and three pictures of the Sooke hills. Oh, and a photo of me about the time I wrote this piece. Here it is: