As a student at Rice, I’ve become familiar with the unusual and beautiful cloud formations that appear in East Texas skies. as the light begins to drift was inspired by their subtle interplay of light and shadow and their flowing, hazy geometries. The work opens with a burst of swirling texture, with spiraling runs and swells entangling in a chaotic sound world. The brass interjects with jagged, syncopated hits as different instruments emerge from and then vanish into the ensemble. After a spiraling downward run, a plaintive English horn melody is accompanied by a canopy of string harmonics and trills. In the second section, crystalline percussion instruments merge with subtle orchestral textures. A clarinet solo leads into a pulsing triplet ostinato, which is passed throughout the ensemble, growing in intensity until it reaches a furious climax. The work closes gently with the return of the English horn, fading to nothing in a halo of shimmering sounds. as the light begins to drift was written for Rice’s Hear&Now Ensemble in April 2019.