Reading: (A Mish-Mash) / For a Man / I will never 2013
for Voice, Trumpet, Trombone and Bass Clarinet
The physical act of typing with only thumb and index finger translates reading (thought) to writing (action) one letter at a time. For Laurence (“Larry”) Joel Eigner (1927-1996), handicapped by cerebral palsy from birth, the typewriter was another wheelchair in the machinery of life: a tool whose limitations could be reappropriated and mobilized as productive conditions for acts of creation. Eigner’s poetry is performative, carefully situated by its setting on the page. It exhibits a kind of embodied phenomenological awareness that is frequently compared to Charles Olson’s concept of projective verse. And yet, Eigner’s texts, which certainly induce poetic form as an emergent property of the activity of reading, nonetheless bear a problematic relationship to the paradigm of spoken utterances enthused for in Olson’s manifesto. Poetry must be read, all agree. But must it be read aloud? What constitutes its projection, its embodiment, its sensuality, its history — its performance? Here, the problematic performance of reading is taken for a different tack: a musical mish-mash of poems, phrases, and prosodies — objects, instances and interactions gratefully borrowed from a body of work, from Mr. Larry Eigner.
Prose and poetry selections from Larry Eigner’s works with permission of the Estate of Larry Eigner: areas / lights / heights: Writings 1954-1989 (1990, ed. Benjamin Friedlander); Windows / Walls / Yard / Ways (1994, ed. Robert Grenier) and readiness / enough / everything / depends on (2000, ed. Robert Grenier).
for flute, violin and piano
Like any form of social organization, musical ensembles embody complicated processes of negotiation and compromise between participants in the pursuit of communal expression. In this short composition I consider the related facts of coexistence and encounter that play out between the violinist, pianist and flutist, under the metaphorical call of a distant tinning-ringing of triangles.
Safe Words 2012
for 5 vocalists
There are no safe words. To save words words-in-a-safe open saving worlds world-safe. Whirl-words: are public. Passwords and play words, key words, after-words and bywords for the political-personal games which require humor to be taken seriously. Plink-Plank-Plunk! Four words: back-words (crosswords). Words and deadly deeds, watch words reward. Safe words are dangerous.
Text excerpts from Frederick Douglass, John Heminge and Henrie Condell, IMSLP, Marxists.org, Gertrude Stein, UbuWeb, Plato, WikiLeaks, and Wikipedia.
for 3 percussionists
(… complicit memories of a troubled youth/
the physical life of power)
in light of unfortunate events 2003 to 2010 we must
machine guns and marching bands
kids at play play play (boys with toys
— toys for teenage tots)
march the madness
(march for madness)
aRagaDagaDagaTEAR THAT statue down
down drown down
drone drone drone droning drone
ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing
A-bombs and F-bombs
shock and awe
the fastest fascist nation of power
in between the dream and the desire
the fascination power
power is its expression
slogans of the world unite, rocket the vote
boom tch-tch, BOOM tch-tch, boom tch-tch, BOOM tch-tch,
for string quartet
QXTR: consonants without consonance. What grounds the fore-back if it isn’t the gexture/testure inversion? Reciprocation (comm-unity). Communify! Eternal elision… impending immanence. And silence. (listening)
Die Knospe Verschwindet in Dem Hervorbrechen Der Blüte 2004-6
for alto saxophone
then there 2001
for chamber orchestra