for soprano, flute, violin, and percussion(2010-2016)
|Text information||Texts by Guido d’Arezzo, Aristotle, Pietro Bembo, Lydia Davis, Michael Drayton, Robert Duncan, Sigmund Freud, Jenny Holzer, Plato, Sophocles, Kate Soper, Sarah Teasdale, and Ludwig Wittgenstein|
|Duration||Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission|
|Movements||I. Poetics (voice, flute, percussion, and violin)|
II. Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say (voice and flute)
III. Rhetoric (voice, flute, percussion, and violin)
IV. The Crito (voice and percussion)
V. Metaphysics (for voice flute, percussion, and violin)
VI. Cipher (for voice and violin)
|Premiere||December 9, 2016; The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy NY; The Wet Ink Ensemble: Kate Soper (soprano/composer), Erin Lesser (flutes), Josh Modney (violin), Ian Antonio (percussion)|
Premiere production directed by Ashley Tata with lights by Anshuman Bhatia, projections by Brad Peterson, and costumes by Nina Vartanian.
Flute (C flute, piccolo, bass flute, additional ‘beater’ C flute for mvt. V)
Violin (plus additional ‘beater’ violin for mvt. V)
- Marimba (4.5 octave), crotales (2 octaves, must include a duplicate C5 removed from frame),
small bell, woodblock, finger cymbal, 2 toms (one with rim and head loosened), small chain to
attach to tom, splash cymbal, sus. cymbal, china cymbal, tam tam. Soprano needs a small bell
that has been fixed not to sound (I), sandpaper blocks (III), and marimba mallets (IV).
Violinist and flutist need crotale mallets (III).
This is the complete collection of IPSA DIXIT – for individual movements, see "related works."
All movements of IPSA DIXIT may be performed alone or in any combination.
What is art? As the opening salvo to a piece of chamber music, the question is a little grandiose, bordering on pretentious. And expecting to arrive at an answer may be as deluded as putting stock into Jenny Holzer’s enigmatic assertion that it is useful to incorporate language into art because ‘people can understand you when you say something.’ Nevertheless, these two phrases are the bookends of IPSA DIXIT, which attempts to sound the depths of the tangled relationship between art, language, and meaning.
IPSA DIXIT is the feminized form of ipse dixit (literally "he, himself, said it"), a term used to describe a fallacious claim based on the authority of the claimer alone – e.g., "I don't need to prove that what I say is true, it's true because I say so!" The piece explores myriad ways in which the truth can be hidden, in how musical language can complicate sense, how a soprano’s sovereignty over instrumentalists can be challenged, and how gut feeling can overrule reason. The pursuit of honesty, under everyday circumstances as well as in matters of life and death, relentlessly haunts Ipsa Dixit at its surface.
IPSA DIXIT is an evening-length work of chamber music theatre that explores the tantalizingly convoluted intersections of music, language, and meaning through a deep interweaving of music and text, complex instrumental textures, contemporary vocal techniques, and blistering ensemble virtuosity. Scored for voice, flute, violin, and percussion, and developed over several years of intense collaboration with the members of Wet Ink, IPSA DIXIT blend elements of monodrama, Greek theatre, and screwball comedy in its examination of the treachery of language and the questionable authenticity of musical expression.
Ipse dixit /Ip-suh dik-sit/: noun (Latin). Literally "he, himself, said it."
An unproven yet dogmatic statement which the speaker expects the listener to accept as valid without proof beyond the speaker's assumed expertise.
Ipsa dixit: "she, herself, said it . . .”