January: Brin’s Mesa

for soprano and violin

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This piece was inspired by a site in Arizona’s Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, where in 2006 a campfire triggered the devastation of 4,000 acres. Visiting ten years later, the difference between the areas on either side of the fire line was still stark. I mourned the loss of the mesa’s trees but also noted new life slowly returning. This piece will be included in Ill on a Journey, a multilingual opera/oratorio about navigating life with chronic illness.

Vocal range: D4-G5. View a score sample here.

Watch a video of this piece performed by Abigail Chapman and Allison Dubinski:

Finally, away!
from growling machines
and crowds of squawking daytrippers 
into the faithful shade of Arizona cypress, pinyon and juniper.

Copper earth murmuring to my soles;
cactus faces beaming out from pockets of snow; 
sandstone walls standing guard as I climb sunny ledges, 
propelled into the magnet sky!

I need to rest awhile
among the skeletons of trees,
branches blackened years ago by fire;
grasses and manzanita recovering the wounds... 
and all alone, towering above them:
a century plant, who survived the flames
and reached up and burst into bloom—
now lifeless.

When we are very still, I hear whispering 
in a language I cannot understand.
Let’s be quiet for a moment and listen.

—Rebekah Driscoll