“Boy meets girl, then @#$% happens.”
This was my off-the-cuff response when asked about the story behind La Robe Verte (2016). I first composed this work in 2007 for oboe and orchestra. After the premiere, I wasn’t fully satisfied with the composition as an outcome and thought it’d be best adapted for a chamber ensemble of some sort. It wasn’t until nine years later that I would be presented with the perfect opportunity to revisit this work, when an oboist friend of mine asked me if I had any literature he’d be interested in for a recital.
La Robe Verte, French for “the green dress,” tells a story of an ill-fated romantic pursuit. When we think of romance and passion as women’s attire, we’re most inclined to picture a red dress, or perhaps a black dress. The color green, however, is one much more associated with calm and envy (it is also the color I personally am most synesthetically prone to associate with an oboe). The narrative from start to finish might be conceived as a man gazing upon such a green-clad woman for the first time, to become enamored with the very idea of dancing with her, waking from his reverie to realize that it is never meant to be, and, after a time of repose, soon moves on.