across ... in grief and detail
for bassoon and violin(2022)
|September 8, 2023; International Museum of Surgical Science Concert Series, Chicago, IL; William Overcash, violin • Ben Roidl-Ward, bassoon
The title across...in grief and detail comes from the poetry of Christopher Middleton (1926-2015). Almost from the moment Middleton and I met in Germany in 2001, I have engaged with his poetry, and have done so more than with any other poet. Like other poets I have set recently, namely Fawzi Karim and Anja Utler, Middleton is clear-eyed about the world around him and does not recoil from it. There is often a restrained assessment in the processing of devastation. From the departure point of this fragmented text, I wrote a cycle of eleven pieces for bassoon and violin which attempt to engage a wide range of both technical and expressive potentials of this special combination, above all exploring sound possibilities of these instruments in performance together. Over the past decade I have continued to augment the amount of vocalizations I ask for from instrumentalists, and this work takes that further than I have in recent years, requiring the violinist to utilize their voice consistently throughout the work.
– Michael Hersch