a tearing loose from matter
for 2 violins(2022)
|September 28, 2023; Duologue Festival, New York, NY; String Noise Duo
a tearing loose from matter is a brief, single-movement work, written over two days in late 2022. I had been considering situations requiring resilience in the face of structural detachment, issues that poet Shane McCrae often traverses in his poetry. In creating the libretto for a new opera based upon McCrae's poetry, I found myself thinking about a particular few lines, lines which I never set in the opera but that lingered nonetheless:
"... he saw the tops of the other angels’ heads before he saw their bodies Before he saw their hands ...
Shaking like the hands of humans when humans are pleading..."
This in turn reminded me of a line from the end of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, a book I hadn't thought about in well over 40 years:
"The hand shook violently, but his face set and his hand steadied …"
In this piece of music, the violinists are called upon to vocalize throughout. The vocalized text is from poet Jan Zwicky's book, Songs for Relinquishing the Earth:
"... where the heart lay ... nothing ... sun tumbles down”
The title of the work is a fragment from the poem The Memory of the Eye by Ioan Flora - translated into English from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin and Elena Barta.