Five Reflective Fragments (2006)

  • Instrumentation: pno + speak­ing voice, perc + speak­ing voice, vln, vln, vla, vc
  • Duration: 9’00
  • Performers: Piano – Luciane Car­dassi, Per­cus­sion – Fabio Oliveira, Vio­lins: Orin Hildestad, Chris Otto, Viola – Kim­berly Empeno, Vio­lon­cello – Emily Dufour, Con­duc­tor – Harvey Sollberger

Program Notes

Five Reflective Fragments is based on a sequence of very brief text fragments extracted from a much longer poetic work, entitled I Lost Everything by poet Sarah Lang. The piece always presents this series of word-units in order and without overlap. Each unit is spoken—not sung—at the beginning of a musical gesture, and always by the performer who is playing the gesture. Each unit is also repeated multiple times.

I have decided on this approach in order to distance the text from any fixed narrative. The music instead provides a space for these language objects to be observed in, and in which the listener can choose to create or not create his or her own narrative. Presented in this monolithic manner and detached from the contextualization of language prepositions, Five Reflective Fragments sets up the opportunity for a kind of mythological reaction to develop around the preconceptions of the listener. The word-units combine with the music to create hints, but hopefully hints that will take each listener in a different direction.