become/desiccated, commissioned in 2016 by the American Accordionists’ Association, was finished in 2017 and premiered in NYC. To be published by Edition Avantus.
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
white as ash [Orfeas I]
Benzaquen Hall, Dimenna Center, NYC Audio and video by Braund Studios braundstudios.squarespace.com/
"'Isn't there a chance they might find her one day? They found those other two . . .' Nuto was sitting on a low wall and watching me with his stubborn eyes. He shook his head. 'No, not Santa,' he said. 'They won't find her. You can't cover a woman like that with dirt and just leave her. Too many men still drooled at the thought of her. Baracca took care. He had us cut all the dry branches we could find in the vineyard and cover her over. Then we poured gasoline on her and lit it. By noon it was all ash. The mark was still there last year, like the bed of a bonfire.'" - Cesare Pavese, the Moon and the Bonfires
"white as ash" is the first movement of a large-scale solo piano work for Jana Luksts. This movement was rehearsed diligently by Jana over the past year - her rendering of the complex notation and layering is impeccable.
Written for the Zodiac Festival Academy in Valdeblore, Provence, and premiered in L'eglise Saint Jacques le Majeur (Valdeblore, FR) in July, 2014, by Jana Luksts (piano), Tyler James (violoncello), and Lucinda Chiu (violin).