February 18, 2019

The ensemble is going to begin rehearsals for the March 31 concert tomorrow. I cant wait for them to start putting this big work together! Below is an "ingredients list" for each of the 16 movements. I do not go into detail about how all of these elements come together, but I hope this will inform curious listeners' experience and invite them to learn more about these source materials. I call them ingredients largely because that is how I approached the composition process for this piece. I spent almost an entire year reading (see the previous posts on research and arguments) and compiling big computer files full of musical material (my "Mise en place") that would serve as the material with which I would compose ("cook") each piece ("dish"). 





2. PEDESTAL (Monument march)


3. ARIA (Vacant river)


4. INTERLUDE (Have you ever been to Nashville?)

  • Library of Congress AFC 1939/001: AFS 02669a01

  • Southern Mosaic Collection

  • From Lomax’s field notes: “We went at once to Camp #6, where Mr. Lomax had previously found some songs. There we found Captain Allen in charge, who came riding up from his inspection of the fields and recognized Mr. Lomax at once. Cap'n Allen had formerly been in charge of a camp near Little Rock where Mr. Lomax had recorded previously. It was he whose wife complained that she was kept busy repairing the right armhole of his shirts, which tore loose when he flogged the boys in the field when they slackened work. On this occasion Captain Allen seemed glad to see somebody from Texas and his family also seemed glad of a diversion. After a bountiful supper we, the Lomaxes, the Allens and some guests adjourned to the Negro barracks. By the aid of kerosene lamps and flash-lights we set up the machine.” 


5. ARIA (Weeping dreamer)


6. INTERLUDE (Makes a long time man feel bad)

7. PEDESTAL (Battle monument scherzo)


8. MONUMENT (Long winds)


9. INTERLUDE (Red hot sun turning over) 


10. ARIA (Beautiful and sad)


11. MONUMENT (Short winds)


12. PEDESTAL (Woodman, spare that tree)


13. PEDESTAL (Hail Columbia)


14. MONUMENT (Distress)


15. INTERLUDE (The longest day I ever lived) 


16. ARIA-POSTLUDE (Lonely chair)

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