Kiss Around the World (2009)

  • Instrumentation: sop, vln, b. clar, pno
  • Duration: 14'00
  • Commissioned by New Works Calgary and the Canada Council for the Arts, for Ensemble Resonance

Program Notes

Kiss Around the World was commissioned by New Works Calgary and the Canada Council for the Arts for Ensemble Resonance. It is the second Around the World piece that I have written, taking a single word—in this case kiss—and presenting it in a wide variety of languages.

The idea of kissing takes on very different connotations in different languages, and I wanted to find a connotation that was as universal as possible. Therefore, in Kiss Around the World I decided to focus on the idea of the nurturing kiss, the kiss a parent would give a child. This was the most universal use of kissing I came across. Romantic kissing, which is what I initially thought would make the best focus, is not universal. It did not exist in much of Asia before the arrival of the Europeans; Koreans and Japanese actually use a modified form of the English word for romantic kissing.

Musically, Kiss Around the World is made up of a series of short sound units, usually one per word, that are arranged and developed into a lyrical, flowing texture. Being a composer obsessed with fragmentation and contrast, this was a novel and stimulating challenge for me that grew out of the theme of the piece and the musical materials at hand. The result is a soothing, gentle piece that has certain aspects of a lullaby, all the while employing the collage/mosaic techniques that are the hallmarks of my style. There is even a little collage surprise at the end of the piece…