For the straight way was lost was commissioned and premiered by The Darkwood Consort in Boise, Idaho. But it has since been performed throughout the US and Europe many times in many duet combinations: Bb Clarinet and Viola, Bb Clarinet and Cello; Alto Sax and Viola, Alto Sax and Cello, and Viola and Bass Clarinet (the original!). The live video concert performance seen here is for Bb Clarinet and Cello, performed by Natalie Grata and Chris Erickson in Orlando, Florida.
The title became unintentionally more and more appropriate over time, as the work has undergone multiple revisions and tweaking, and experiments. The title comes from a passage in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and I chose it because, first, it includes the name of the ensemble that commissioned it from me, but second, it also seems a good description of how the compositional process sometimes goes and did go with this piece; sometimes while working, the piece takes unexpected turns (almost of its own volition) that must then be dealt with:
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi retrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita.
In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
-Dante, from The Divine Comedy