Eastside Road, November 8, 2014—JUST WHEN I THOUGHT there was no particular reason to write any more music — in July, 2004, to be precise — Eliane Lust asked for a new piece. She was planning a recital program of lullabies and thought I’d like to supply one. She’s a favorite of mine; she did such a splendid job with my piano sonata Bachelor Apparatus , even consenting to play it in costume seated at a piano perched on a cart being hauled across the stage by a strongman in Margeret Fisher’s amazing dance/theater piece drawn from our opera together.
And, by coincidence, I’d just bought a new piece of notation software which made it easier than ever to print music, and even to synthesize it somewhat suggestively; and I’d installed it on a new laptop, a tiny one that I’d taken with us on an annual week in Ashland, where we like to go to see Shakespeare (and other plays), and where we were when Eliane’s e-mail request came.
Partly to learn the software (and to demonstrate it to a friend who was among those spending the week with us), partly to see if I could write a lullaby, I quickly composed this piece. The next day, after the computer played it to us and I discovered how incredibly long it is and how somniferous, I decided to add a Finale, partly to awaken the audience, more really to awaken the performer.
The pieces have something to do with the music in the Trio for Violin, Piano, and Percussion. The same chromaticism is there; the deep clusters; the insistent repetition. I don’t think these have much to do with Minimalism; to me they are more closely related to the hermetic poetry of Gertrude Stein. But I could be wrong about that. In fact, Lullaby is a sort of by-piece to the much longer Sonata 2 Compositio ut explicatio.
Eliane introduced both movements in a program of lullabies and barcarolles given at The Dance Palace, Pt. Reyes Station, California, Oct. 17, 2004.
click here for synthesized performance (.mp3)
click here for score (.pdf)