As I noted last Sunday
, Iíve been painstakingly re-entering an entire score for an enormous piece I composed back in 1993. Iíve got about a week of work to go.
was one of the first I wrote that incorporated spoken text. In fact, it may have been the very first, but Iím not going to bother looking that one up to make sure, because firstness is never all that interesting to me, even within my own work.
In the intervening years, Iíve written a number of pieces with spoken text. For the most part, theyíve been very successful. Some of them use spoken text in ways that disrupt normal concert-going expectations, and some of them simply use the text to tell an accompanied story. Measuring their success is a somewhat different exercise in each case.
But there are some poor souls out there who simply canít abide spoken text with their music. Somehow their brains shut down when presented with these two different forms of expression. I feel badly for these people, because the experience can be a very rich one for those of us who donít have those insurmountable boundaries.
Itís difficult for me to imagine, but I wonder sometimes if itís similar to my reaction to spatial music. With only one ear, I find music that relies on particular spatial arrangements kind of dull, because I canít organize what Iím hearing into specific locations, which seems to be a crucial part of the experience. Maybe thatís what happens to people whose brains canít process spoken text along with music Ė maybe the results just sound a little boring.
But I guess Iíll never know, because (when itís done well) I find the blend of music and spoken word one of the more intense experiences I can have.