I adapted this text from Sonya Huber’s poem “What Pain Wants”, which I found in her book Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System. Having lived with chronic pain myself since the age of eighteen, I related strongly to the idea of pain as a constant companion, a sort of being with a cryptic personality. Continue reading
Mt. Carrigain is a 4,683-foot peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which I climbed in September 2014. It was my 43rd of New Hampshire’s 48 peaks over 4,000 feet, the last before my worsening health made this kind of hiking no longer possible. This piece will be included in Ill on a Journey, a multilingual opera/oratorio about navigating life with chronic illness.
View a perusal score here.
Listen to soprano Abigail Chapman and SORA string quartet performing September: Mt. Carrigain:
I began climbing these mountains as a child back then I set a goal to one day know them all when I got sick so many goals had to be abandoned and yet I held onto this Signal Ridge Trail is a rocky spine ascending through evergreens soaked in mist, clothed in moss and mushrooms although I’ve never been here, somehow I feel at home today it’s not too difficult to hold my head up straight today my vision is clear today the grip of pain is loose enough to move this is as good as I can feel as good as I’ll ever feel Signal Ridge Trail is laced with slippery tree roots sending me stumbling— ankles twisting— my body knows I want to leave it and bites the rock in despair taking a break, out of breath, we tell each other “The view will be sublime, when the clouds lift!” but the clouds never lift they swirl around the firetower in wind threatening to tear us away refusing to allow even a glimpse of the green beyond heading down knees also refuse to obey blood turned spiky as the trail paper birch, I am a foreigner in your home now will you kindly steady me?
This piece was inspired by Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, 478 acres of natural beauty, history, and sculpture. The site of the 1776 Battle of Long Island, the cemetery now features four glacial ponds and thousands of trees (including some of Brooklyn’s oldest), sheltering an astounding variety of resident and migrating birds. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
About 60,000 people, including some 24,000 children, sleep in New York’s municipal homeless shelters each night, and thousands more sleep unsheltered on the streets. This diverse population includes people from nearly all walks of life, although the primary cause of homelessness for the majority is the severe shortage of affordable housing.
I wrote Climate Honesty around the time U.S. Senator James Inhofe brought a snowball to work in an attempt to deny the existence of climate change. My song is not addressed to the senator—I have no words for him—but rather to those who want to believe what people like him have to say, not only on this subject but on any where it is comfortable yet irresponsible to be ignorant. Continue reading
This piece is available in two transpositions for high (range C4–G#5) and low (B♭3–F#5) voices. They can be purchased as a set from Gumroad or Ko-fi (US Letter PDFs only). View a score sample of the low voice version.
Watch soprano Abigail Chapman and pianist Fang-Yi Chu performing the high voice version:
Text in Russian by K. N. Batyushkov Continue reading