structure unfolding!

November 1, 2018

Well, it has been a while since my last post! Much has happened with the piece and in life! Probably the main reason I have posted so little in the past 7 months is because my wife and I welcomed twin babies into the world last March. We have been hustling and sleep deprived ever since. The little brain power I have maintained has gone entirely to teaching and to working on this piece. 


The structure has slowly unfolded itself over the past year. I have planned perhaps 30 different versions of the structure, and now I have finally settled on one that, I think, works well. Each of the 18ish movements are progressing slowly, aiming for a final draft to welcome the new year on Jan 1, 2019. I am on track, but the next few months will be busy.


I will be presenting on the piece at a conference at the University of Richmond in February (a conference titled "Contested Frequencies: Sonic Representation in the Digital Age.") It should be very interesting! They will even be performing an arrangement of a few sections of the piece for wind quintet and playback. I recently wrote a short blurb on the composition for the organizers to include in their program material, so I thought I would share that on this platform as well. And after that I present the full structure of the piece. 


Red hot sun turning over is a concert-length, multimedia piece for mezzo-soprano, wind ensemble, archival sound and film exploring Southern monuments, myths, and histories. Using music, sounds, and images from the civil war era and the early 20th century, the music erects monuments and tears them down, writes and re-writes histories, exposes the complex web of myths, and confronts the nostalgia and pain surrounding Confederate monuments in the South. Bookended by a prologue and epilogue, the concert-length work features four types of movements. Four Pedestals warp Civil War era band music. Four Monuments present sonifications of data on monument dedications over the 157 years since the Civil War. Arias present four nostalgic and bittersweet popular songs from the Civil War era, with the music, lyrics, and accompaniments scrambled by faulty memory. And finally, four Interludes draw on archival recordings from the 1939 Lomax "Southern Mosaic" archive housed in the Library of Congress. 


Red hot sun turning over 

on Southern monuments, myths, and histories


for mezzo-soprano, wind ensemble, recorded sound, and archival film 

by David Kirkland Garner

duration ca. 70 minutes





Monument 1

Pedestal (Monument march)

Aria (Beautiful and sad)

Interlude (Have you ever been to Nashville?)



Pedestal (Battle monument waltz)

Aria (Weeping dreamer)

Interlude (Longest day

Monument 2





Aria (Lonely chair)

Interlude (Makes a long time man feel bad

Monument 3

Pedestal (Woodman, spare that tree)



Interlude (Red hot sun turning over

Monument 4

Pedestal (Hail Columbia)

Aria (Vacant river)




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