Elegy and Observation is an environmental requiem. Drawing on ancient and modern texts, the piece leaps and lurches among perspectives from intimate to global, tender to catastrophic. So too, our perceived relationship to the natural world is constantly shifting, from the poet’s tension between fear and delight, to scientific observation, biblical prediction of catastrophe, the unassailable truth of species extinction, and the poetry of those who have experienced natural disaster.
The songs comprising my October 2020 release, Ghosts of Our Former Selves, including the two presented here, were deliberately composed in a confessional mode. They form a forty-minute sonic memoir that draws on everything I have spent my six-plus decades learning as a composer of contemporary classical music (especially computer music) with deep roots in jazz and popular music traditions.
Famly of Humans seeks to illustrate how we all are equal, regardless of the color of our skin or the shape of our features. It begs acceptance of the idea that tolerance and respect without judgment can exist. By presenting a disparate population in microcosm where no one is prejudged and there is no exclusivity, Famly of Humans promotes the idea of diversity where we are all on equal footing, no one is marginalized, and social acceptance is the norm.
For a long time, I have used my body in creation of my work. The landscapes/maps on canvas are distillations of my urban wanderings, both physical and psychological. The emergence of these public performances—I’ll call them “urban en plein air interventions”—have become imperative for my survival “in the time of now.”
It is important to make the distinction between the languages of contemplation and those of action. The language of the birds is a contemplative language. It delivers its messages directly, the meaning of which disappears, it ceases to be understood, as soon the stimulus ends, that is, once the bird is silent. Contemplative languages are languages of direct experience, languages of ’what is.’ The occurrence of such language is equivalent to that of dreams in the sense that it paralyzes the physical body while agitating the subtle core.