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Composed: 2022

About this Piece

Mud gets everywhere. Rocks, big and small, rattle each bone in the body. Every turn of the formless road brings unexpected challenges, both enticing and menacing. Do we succumb to the treacherous terrain, overheated and out of gas, or do we pull ourselves out of the thick, sticky sludge with a renewed sense of who we are? At one point, the laser-focus attention spent dodging deep potholes sprinkled on the narrow trail is interrupted by the glimpse of an idyllic vista that peeks through thick bushes. Could this be our destination? In that instance, we are simultaneously in heedful and blissful modes, slipping a rusty clutch while pondering our place in the universe.

Todo Terreno translates literally as “all terrain.” Whether on foot, bike, or on a 4x4 vehicle, good parts of my childhood and adolescence were spent off-roading in the vast and wild countryside of my native Venezuela. As an adult, I have come to appreciate those early experiences that made me nature-savvy and afforded me an enviable sense of freedom. I titled the Los Angeles Philharmonic commission Todo Terreno because I feel the music’s irregular rhythmic phrasing and unpredictable harmonic shifts capture the thrill of driving off-road. Digging deeper, I find that the off-road experience is a compelling metaphor for life, one that fools us into thinking that tools can make us immune to humanity’s frailty while at the same time making us acutely aware that our survival depends upon our respect towards and adaptability to our surroundings. —Ricardo Lorenz