Apricity is an archaic word that has been lost from the English language for centuries. Its definition refers to the warmth of sunlight in the winter, and it never caught on to mainstream use after its introduction in the 1600s. When I wrote this piece during February and March of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was just beginning to disrupt society around the globe. Looking ahead to a vast amount of uncertainty and an unknown amount of time of lockdowns and social distancing, I found increasing comfort in thinking about the meaning of apricity. Emerging from a long and cold winter, with the world suddenly thrown into turmoil, I had a renewed appreciation for the warmth in my life: the family and friends whom I took for granted and could no longer physically be with.
The music begins coldly, with an undulating chord progression played with a nasal tone. An arcing melody is the response to this chord progression, rising gradually out of the texture. Eventually the music warms and swells, with emphatic rising gestures emanating from the bottom of the ensemble to the top, leading to a climax based on the undulating chords. Glissandos connect harmonies to create the effect of melting as the music proceeds to a second climax under a soaring melody, before the music calms and refreezes into a subdued conclusion.
Apricity exists in many instrumentations:
Brass Quintet (2 Trumpets in Bb, Horn in F, Trombone, Tuba)
String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola, Cello)
Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello
Flauto d'Amore, Violin, Viola, and Cello
Flauto d'Amore, Treble Viol, Tenor Viol, and Bass Viol