"Bound" is my dissertation written to complete my DMA in Music Composition at the University of Michigan. The piece is for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, saxophone, cello, and percussion and sets poetry I commissioned from poet Lauren Clark.
This recording is from the work's premiere on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at First Presbyterian Church in Ypsilanti, MI. It features the incredible talents of mezzo Megan Ihnen, along with Andy Hall (saxophone), Jason Paige (clarinet), Jake Woollen (cello), and Chris Sies (percussion) from the accomplished midwest-based chamber ensemble Latitude49.
Below is the program note from the performance along with the work's text as it was presented in the program.
My composition dissertation, "Bound", represents the culmination of a year-long collaboration with mezzo-soprano Megan Ihnen, Latitude 49, and poet Lauren Clark, from whom I commissioned work’s source poetry. Through moments of yearning, austerity, beauty, and power, the work’s eight movements tell a story of vulnerability, loss, and memory. Bound investigates the dissolution of relationships and our efforts to make sense of and protect ourselves from such emotional trauma.
I. Prelude ("It Is June")
It is June.
The head of garlic you gave to me to keep in my pocket or palm, to ward off demons, is a metaphor for the way we are bound in our hearts and minds. The head of garlic is a many-chambered hear, it is a hand with fifteen fingers, it is an ear with an entire section of timpani drums within. It is to protect myself that I live in many bodies at once, it is to feel my elbow, or hip, or pores cry out, when beside me you cry in your sleep.
III. Interlude ("There A Things I Have Forgotten")
There are things I have forgotten.
IV. Interlude ("The Virginal Blue Glow")
The virginal blue glow beyond the hills and the sudden flesh pink that replaces it. What color came in between the pink and blue and how did I miss it?
V. Interlude ("The Early And Inert Highway")
The early and inert highway
VI. Bound III
This year, no joy seeps across the hull of the boat with the water. This year, no hour of strange silent breath when the moon finally sets. The year, a whisper comes after the water. There is no cradle inside the grotto anymore. The bell rings out our harsh again where once the air was filled with voices. This year, no dancing, not once, no feast to follow feast.
VII. Interlude ("The Wild Wheat Shaking In The Wind")
The wild wheat shaking in the wind.
VIII. Bound V
The wave breaks blue green in the colors. Everything, the orchard full of figs, the road to the sea, the random music of bells singing around a heard of moving goat necks, the house that sits like an eye on the hill, everything disappears. And, after this closing in, there is violence and the body is tossed indiscriminately. There is the impulse to protect the brain, the eyes, the neck, even in the dark blue. Even turned upside down, the brain knows history, the brain knows there is always violence. The body saw the wave, the body felt the wave, the body saw the wave coming, the body felt the wave coming. The wave crashes always.
Special thanks to Nelson T. Gast who engineered this excellent recording.
Text used with the permission of the poet.
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