I’m in the midst of writing music inspired by the incredible art work of Sanya Glisic. The first thing I did was start a journal of my thoughts on each of these works. Here are my thoughts for this one titled “What We Worry About, What We Can’t Help”
How to depict this picture musically?
The sea of orange is the very first thing I see. I am lost in it, searching for a focal point. Which is the oasis of flame. Which is the focal point for the various figures apparently trying to move toward it. Or many of them are trying to move toward it, not all of them. Some are resting or taking a break or perhaps worshipping it. It’s also a self-contained tableau, there are no waves outside of the central field of vision. You know, it’s not an oasis, it’s a flame. The figures are not human, not fully realized or recognizable as anything. They are representations? Parts of the soul yearning for the fire?
At any rate, yearning, sea of orange, focal point. how do you depict orange in music? Should i worry about that? I create a sense of infinite space with waves, a sense of recurring, predictable motion. The figures want to go to the flame. In this moment the flame has always been there.
The piece of music begins with the arrival of the flame. The figures would not be going toward it if it had not arrived relatively recently. There is a great event, it is the arrival of the flame. There is a kind of scattering that is caused by the flame, there is a sense of struggle to get to the flame, they do not reach it in the painting so they do not reach it in the piece. THe piece does not fade out and away, it still struggles to reach the flame until the very end, but we do not know if they get there. It is outside of our knowledge.
What to make of the title? We can’t help trying to reach the flame? A spiritual goal? We all want to have a spiritual goal and can’t help it?
What do we worry about? Day to day things? All of which seem to have been stripped away in this screenprint.
The piece opens with an eerie kind of sound but there is also a sense of motion right away in the cello. The sax is in its lowest register, the flute is singing an eerie siren song. The clarinet is bending through micro tones. It’s an uncanny sound that we’re going for here, restless, irresistible.
There’s an ambiguity in the work too that I like and that I think is represented musically in the faster section.
The first section through the fast section should feel like you’re stuck in molasses, trying to reach the flame, the waves are there, the motion but it’s harder to get to than you might think. The faster section is what we can’t help. The worrying is the trying to reach the flame, the faster section, what we can’t help is perhaps being sucked into the flame. What, then does the flame represent? Something good? purity? Is it important that we reach the flame? Is anything important?
- Written by: Seth Boustead
- On: March 30, 2014
Leave a Reply
‘Of Leaks and Mirrors’ to be Performed 5/19/2017 in Washington DC
My three movement piece for flute and percussion, Of Leaks and Mirrors, will be performed by the Iktus Duo on [...]5/19/20177:00 PMFree
‘The Heart of the World’ Performance in Brooklyn
My score to Guy Maddin’s film Heart of the World is getting performed on Friday, May 12 at National Sawdust [...]May 12, 201710:00 PM$25
‘The Heart of the World’ Performance in Mexico City
ACM is bringing our Sound of Silent Film Festival to Mexico City and I’m thrilled that the score I wrote [...]4/28/2017 and 4/29/2017
Sound of Silent Film Festival in Chicago April 22nd
How quickly twelve years go by. Hard to believe but on April 22nd we’ll give our twelfth annual Sound of [...]April 22, 20177:30 PM$20
Late Night at National Sawdust: Chaos Theory on April 21
I am very proud of this new series, a quarterly concert series showcasing the globality and diversity of today’s classical [...]4/21/20179:30 PM$34
My Piano Concerto “Satori” to be Premiered March 9!
The fabulous Marta Aznavoorian will join the Chicago Composers Orchestra as soloist in the World Premiere of my new piano [...]3/9/20177:30$20
Playing with Jenny Lin February 12
I’m sharing a bill with the fabulous pianist Jenny Lin. She’ll play a piece of mine and new music by [...]2/12/20178:30 PM$10
‘Veil’ to be Performed January 20 at National Sawdust
The second movement of my string quartet, Veil, will be performed on Friday, January 20th at National Sawdust in Brooklyn [...]
‘Half State’ to be Performed December 14
My solo flute piece Half State will be performed on Wednesday, December 14 at the studio of Ensemble Mise-en in [...]
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- September 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013