Identity. Variation. Sound technocratic advice.
become/desiccated, commissioned in 2016 by the American Accordionists’ Association, was finished in 2017 and premiered in NYC. Available from Edition Avantus for 15.50 euros: Edition Avantus Store.
I am aware of the dangers, so no need to warn me.
Motivated by and designed around events/phenomena such as the increasingly international trend of xenophobia and neofascism, the failing EU-imposed austerity measures on the Greek state that have crippled all aspects of society, the negative implications of ever-pervasive technological advancement, and my own deteriorating health as a Type 1 Diabetic, I chose to write a work that asks, as Mukherjee ponders in The Gene, what generates the undistorted variants of our normal selves? How do we continue to realize ourselves through illness, disability? How do societies realize themselves amidst mutilation by “medieval doctors who insist on bleeding their patients”?
Whatever else, we must convince our heart to pray, otherwise it will become desiccated. - St. John of Kronstadt
Several unrelated texts, mostly newspaper clippings, propel the work’s narrative: Doctor’s Shouldn’t Be Gods – an interview with Siddhartha Mukherjhee (Jo Ellison, Financial Times, 2017), Ending Greece’s Bleeding, Paul Krugman (New York Times, 2015), and The Sweet Relief of Splenda in My Purse, Maris Kreizman (New York Times, 2016). These texts are fragmented, fractured, atomized, and sometimes presented fully. The latter portion of the work pays tribute to Greek partisans during the Civil War of 1946-49 that resisted British and American-supported Nazi sympathizers. These letters, sent to their families prior to their public executions, are likewise cited in Luigi Nono’s seminal Il Canto Sospeso.
...they had finally become desiccated to the point of sheer abstraction, devoid of relevant content. - Roger Sessions
Disorienting, acutely distressing in some cases, and heavily fragmented, the musical language of the work is mainly a cyclical vehicle for the narrative of the texts. Conforming to the same ratios of the 17 notes that precipitate the work, the 17 sections of the piece rotate at different lengths, as if bound to some medieval breaking wheel, regurgitating identical or varied material ad infinitum.
See’st thou not, how stiff, how stiff, and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold - Purcell, King Arthur