Below are a few photos from the May 29th debut performance of my new piece for men's choir and percussion ensemble, Cutting Word, at Seattle Pacific University. Cutting Word was performed again on June 1st, which is where the recording below comes from. Overall I feel really pleased with the performance - director Ken Pendergrass did an excellent job preparing the ensembles and shaping the conversations about performance decisions.
Just before my May 5th concert at The Chapel, the Seattle Times published a short preview that noted that I am, "clearly obsessed with bringing found natural sounds into the concert hall, " and two concerts at Seattle Pacific University this week featuring my new work Cutting Word would seem to back up this statement. Cutting Word - for men's choir and percussion ensemble - is based around three haikus that I wrote:
dead possum in road
face already eaten by
a flock of ravens
parallel jet streams
coming together at dusk
pink clouds to the east
a thousand mushrooms
covered in a soft cold mist
quivering in the wind
The concept of a 'cutting word' comes from haiku practice - the cutting word being the word that links two juxtaposing ideas together. So, within my new piece Cutting Word there are haikus that are sung (except movement two, which is simply an expression of the second haiku above), there is the slightly unusual combination of men's choir and percussion ensemble, and the choir and percussionists alike are required to play natural objects at different times. Since the singers are sitting out the second movement, they become a shifting series of textures by waving branches in the air, and the percussionists will each play a tray of natural objects that they are instructed to manipulate in order to create the sound of someone moving through the woods. All in all after sitting in on the rehearsals last week I'm feeling really excited about the debut this week - and you can hear it twice - May 29th and June 1st. Detailed information about the performances is below...between the performances, continuing to write this big site-specific piece for 100 Acres, and preparing a talk on some experiences in Zen that I'm giving on Sunday, it should be a very full week.
May 29th - Debut of Cutting Word, for Men's Choir and Percussion Ensemble at Seattle Pacific University - 7:30pm, Bach Theater (on campus of SPU), Seattle.
June 1st - Performance of Cutting Word Men's Choir and Percussion Ensemble at Seattle Pacific University - 7:30pm, 1st Free Methodist Church (on campus of SPU), Seattle.