08 May 2007

Aviary Corridor

Listening to a midi file of section one of Tim Risher's Aviary Corridor, right now, I have little sense of the complexity I heard not quite two weeks ago, and again not quite one week ago, at performances of this work in Bothell, Washington, and in Seattle.

I don't consider myself a "lyric" or "lyrical" poet in a traditional sense, yet I do believe I use my ear, in writing, always. Each word, in fact quite often each syllable, just has to sound right. And that's exactly the sense I had when listening to Risher's composition which set my text for soprano voice, singing with string quartet, flute, and piano. The work has many qualities of contemporary music, such as repetition rather in the manner of minimalism, dissonance, oddly sounded violins (to my ear, although quite beautiful odd soundings), and more. Yet it also had the sense of very precise music as in early music, and baroque music, though without the shift to more rococo sensationalism. It did not surprise me at all to find that Risher has played early music and that he has composed "new music" for baroque ensembles. The performance also benefitted from terrific musical direction by Mike Katell and great performances by Megan Drake (soprano), Jesse Myers (piano), Erik Anspach (flute), Tim Strait (violin), Heather Elsa (violin), Melissa Hughes (viola), and Brad Hawkins (cell0). The performance on April 25, and the subsequent one on May 2, could never have happened at all without the indefatigable work of Jeanne Heuving, the support of her colleagues at UW-Bothell, and the support of the members of the subtext collective.

You can scroll down on the compositions page of Tim Risher's web site to Aviary Corridor and listen to the midi files for parts one and four. But you won't get the sense of inter-instrumental dynamics and wonder he has put into this piece. A recording was made of the U of Washington, Bothell performance, and I hope I might someday listen many more times and provide a more complete description of the work, and perhaps put a part of it on this blog. For now, you'll have to do with the midi files and the text.

Aviary Corridor

1.
hallelujah
chorus
swift
fusion

MULTITUDES

despite the agony of worship
underneath a tree

2.
which is not which is not
the world
in a green coat

SCREAMING

among a different
other

3.
The world above
or contains
and

aviary
corridors
(hummingbirds fly through red hoops)

forensics multiply
UPON
stemmed tides

4.
for a minute
a bit of wood
remembers
the markings
indiscriminate
threshold
of painful lodgings
deals composed
tonight, who is watching

5.
tremolo
in the attic
or echo

twice willing
aforementioned sins

Redeem

a night's loding
or fractional

6.
underpass mural remembers
garden to garders

one can not
say the past
aloud
or
speak a person

7.
I know a man
who said that
wisely
take the fifth
on Stone Avenue
two miles north
to a light
turn
a direction
stirrups render
singly

8.
no thing
attaches
he needs
a bowl of soup
Tuesday
watch the thermometer
for a time
something alters
or runs
around a river
wet

9.
she becomes
watch now
or enter
firmly
the only
manner music
frayed
at the edges
she
comes

10.
a language
depicts, detains, detours
toward statement
one means a friend
or two
takes twisting
tongues
Deliver
or find first
figs, branches

Right now this is my favorite version of the poem, and you can find it here on the EPC site, put there some years ago by Chris Alexander. You will also find there something of the history of the poem and the visual art work of the same title by Cynthia Miller that preceded the poem. This poem keeps getting a lot of life, and I don't know what's next, except that we hope for, and are working toward, more performances of the musical song cycle.

A slightly different, more condensed version of the poem (and I also like this version quite a lot) is available in my newest book, Certain Slants, available from Junction Press.

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