Just got a question from Danielle Belén about her upcoming CD of my violin music: what order should the pieces be in?Seven pieces, composed over the course of 25 years, ranging from 3 to 17 minutes in length. Two unaccompanied, three with piano, one with viola and one with marimba.Of course, this doesn’t matter quite as much as it used to – people just don’t listen in prearranged orders so often anymore. But still, an order will exist, and as long as it exists it may as well have some intention to it.

In this case, chronological order doesn’t make much sense, since only 3 of the pieces were written between 1983 and 2005 – the other 4 are from the last three years. I’m leaning toward breaking up the tracks that will include piano, and framing the disk with two brief — but very different — miniatures:

1. Mister Blister (2006) 3:00 unaccompanied
2. Façade (1983) 7:00 with piano
3. Bacchus Chaconne (1990) 5:00 with viola
4. Sonata: Motion (2008) 17:00 with piano
5. Spring passing (1997) 8:00 with piano
6. Fifteen Minutes (2006) 16:00 unaccompanied
7. The Voice (2008) 4:00 with piano

Mister Blister is fast and furious; The Voice is moderate and contemplative.

And now I’m realizing I never blogged about The Voice, which has kind of an interesting backstory. It’s an arrangement of an aria from an opera I wrote almost ten years ago. In the opera, a soprano is being pressured to sell out her art for commercial gain. She responds by trying to explain the peculiar relationship she has with her instrument – she is the servant, rather than the master:

The Voice
Within me
Has a life of its own.
It hovers in my heart,
It shivers in my bones.

A will of its own
Within me.
A turning, trembling tone
Tearing me in two,
Piercing my vision,
My choice.

A soul of its own.

And when it’s gone,
When it’s done with me,
I am here,
I am alone:
a moist and
momentary home
for the Voice.

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