Red hot sun turning over has a premiere date fast approaching (March 31, 2019 at the U of South Carolina)! This big beast of a piece is slowly coming into focus, so I thought I would post an update. In a previous post I shared my structure. The piece is shaping up to have 18 separate movements, each one lasting around 3-6 minutes. MONUMENTS are built on the sonification of data on the confederate monuments created between 1861 and now (one movement includes data on lynchings of African Americans in the US in the early to mid 20th century). PEDESTALS take civil war era band tunes and warp them in various ways, nodding to Charles Ives and to comment on the ways time warps the way we remember. ARIAS are songs written for mezzo soprano (to be sung by the amazing Rachel Calloway!) are essentially sentimental reflections, drawing attention to the conflicted feelings one might have about a history that is both beautiful and horrifying. INTERLUDES are for wind quintet and playback, with the recording sound being manipulated recordings of African American prisoner songs recorded in 1939 by John and Ruby Lomax as part of their Southern Mosaic sessions. There are four of each type of movement, essentially creating four different pieces that are jumbled in the larger structure. I could imagine each of these pieces performed as a separate work. Finally, there is a PROLOGUE and POSTLUDE bookending the four works. In addition to all this music, I will have a video component throughout the entire piece. Right now I am concentrating on the music, but I will share more on the visuals soon!
My work flow has been to work on each piece, each movement, little by little. I will inch one movement forward until I hit a wall, then pivot to another and do the same. Right now, I am starting to finish some full drafts. Last week I completed one of the INTERLUDE: Have you ever been to Nashville? for wind quintet and playback and also the PROLOGUE: Oonossa, which combines the opening to Bruckner's 3rd symphony with elements inspired by the music of the Lumbee Native American Tribe. Today I finished another movement, PEDESTAL: Woodman, spare that tree for the full ensemble of winds (no percussion or singer on this one). This movement draws on a sentimental song of the same name by George Pope Morris and first published in 1837. What unfolds is the first minute of the song, arranged for the full wind compliment, but slowed down. I wanted to create an acoustic sound that mimics the sound of a band recording being put through electronic manipulations including heavy reverb and slowed down to around 25% the original speed.
Many more movements are close to complete... Crunch time!