This work was written for Christina Guenther and Ron Petti and their performances in September and October 2016. The title is stolen from a line of the William Carlos Williams poem “At the Ball Game”.The crowd at the ball gameis moved uniformlyby a spirit of uselessnesswhich delights them—all the exciting detailof the chaseand the escape, the errorthe flash of genius—all to no end save beautythe eternal—So in detail they, the crowd,are beautifulfor thisto be warned againstsaluted and defied—It is alive, venomousit smiles grimlyits words cut—The flashy female with hermother, gets it—The Jew gets it straight— itis deadly, terrifying—It is the Inquisition, theRevolutionIt is beauty itselfthat livesday by day in themidly—This isthe power of their facesIt is summer, it is the solsticethe crowd ischeering, the crowd is laughingin detailpermanently, seriouslywithout thought
Written for and dedicated to the Silver Keys Trio
Score and Recording Coming Soon
SILVER KEYS TRIO – ALL AMERICAN MUSIC
Center for New Music in San Francisco, Sept. 30, 2015 – 7:30pm
San Jose State University, October 1st, 2015 – 12:15pm
Sacramento State University, October 2nd, 2015 -4:00pm
Program Note: When granted the opportunity to write for the Silver Keys Trio’s instrumentation, my wife and I had just begun to expect our new daughter. I swung between exhaustive fragility and terrifying elation and still do with Alice now here and born. This text has become my much needed mantra, as anything I do, from parenting to music, is destined to fail without love. My deepest thanks go to the virtuosic Silver Keys Trio for organizing the commissioning consortium that brought about this seven movement piece.
I Might Speak
With Tongues of Angles
Yet Without Love
Have Now Become
A Clanging Cymbal
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Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931) was briefly famous in the 1910’s as a traveling singing poet who would chant or sing his own poetry while wandering through the United States. Yet later in life he faded into obscurity, often bartering his pamphlet “Rhymes to Be Traded for Bread” in exchange for food. Lindsay eventually commit suicide by ingesting Lysol. This setting of four poems was commissioned by Carrie Zhang and her Classical Trio Impromptu for their performances in the Bing Music Series at Stanford Hospital.
1. Unjust – video
“I am unjust, but I can strive for justice.
My life’s unkind, but I can vote for kindness.
I, the unloving, say life should be lovely.
I, that am blind, cry out against my blindness.”
2. A Sense of Humor – video
“No man should stand before the moon
To make sweet song thereon,
With dandified importance,
His sense of humor gone.
Nay, let us don the motley cap,
The jester’s chastened mien,
If we would woo that looking-glass
And see what should be seen.
O mirror on fair Heaven’s wall,
We find there what we bring.
So, let us smile in honest part
And deck our souls and sing.
Yea, by the chastened jest alone
Will ghosts and terrors pass,
And fays, or suchlike friendly things,
Throw kisses through the glass”
3. The Little Turtle – video
“There was a little turtle. He lived in a box. He swam in a puddle. He climbed on the rocks. He snapped at a mosquito. He snapped at a flea. He snapped at a minnow. And he snapped at me. He caught the mosquito. He caught the flea. He caught the minnow. But he didn’t catch me.”
4. Rain – video
“Each storm-soaked flower has a beautiful eye. And this is the voice of the stone-cold sky: ‘Only boys keep their cheeks dry. Only boys are afraid to cry. Men thank God for tears Alone with lost years.”
Score Coming Soon