The Ultimate Poem is Abstract
for soprano and chamber ensemble(2016)
|Text information||Text by Wallace Stevens and various|
|Duration||ca. 12 minutes|
|Commission||Commissioned by The Los Angeles Philharmonic|
|Premiere||October 1 2016; Disney Hall, Los Angeles, CA; members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Kate Soper, soprano • John Adams, conductor|
Clarinet in Bb
2 percussion (vibraphone, 5-octave marimba, 2-octaves crotales, sus. cymbal, china cymbal, 2 woodblocks, spring drum, triangle, concert bass drum, tam-tam)
The Ultimate Poem Is Abstract began, as a lot of pieces do, with a vague musical notion – can I, a singer, be subsumed into an abstract musical texture? – and some even vaguer conceptual notions – what is an abstract musical texture anyway? Does it have an opposite? And if so, which is more “authentic”? Many texts were scrutinized in the effort to figure out what, exactly, I was trying to say, but ultimately only Wallace Stevens’ remained intact. The voice within this poem, like the voice of the soprano within the ensemble (and perhaps like the nattering voice inside the composer’s head), can describe, can question, can categorize – but ultimately longs most of all, with only occasional flickering success, to experience.
Recording is available via Carrier Records.
– Kate Soper