Without Words

for soprano, 11 instruments, and electronics

Commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation for Ensemble Dal Niente, 
Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, soprano, Michael Lewanski, conductor. Recorded on portrait album Without Words. Ensemble Dal Niente. Carrier Records 022, 2013.
(S, Bfl, EHn, Cbcl, Saxes, Gtr, Perc, Pno, Vln, Vla, Vc, Cb)

Texts, fragments, translations, and paraphrases — from Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Matsuo Basho, and Douglas Huebler among others — come together with field recordings, solar data, internet searches, found objects, and vocal and instrumental samples from the performers themselves in a work that could be described by a term borrowed from concrete poetry: verbivocovisual. A Klangfarbenmelodie of phonemes was composed by mapping texts to recordings, syllables to timbres, and preparations to voice and instruments.  The computer searches a database of samples in real time as well, bringing the transcription into live performance.  As Wallace Stevens writes in “Credences of Summer”: “pure rhetoric of a language without words.”

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