WRITING ON A MANUCSCRIPT OF JS BACH (2003)
VIOLIN, VIOLA, CELLO
PREMIERE: 2003-10-18 (IOWA CITY, IA)
LATEST PERFORMANCE: 2005-05-28 (OBERLIN, OH)
What if we suddenly became naïve to the language of music? What if we looked at the score, and did not recognize what it meant? We would see it anew, like a child who opens a book for the first time, or a historian studying a parchment from an era whose language has long been forgotten. We know it is music, but the manuscript speaks – not of the tune – but of itself. The ink on the page becomes an unheard song, one whose melody is that of the tiny noteheads and feathered beams darting about the staff. All traces of the composition vanish. What remains are the sights and sounds incidental to it. The feeling of the wood while working quietly at one’s desk, in the light of a candle late at night. The stroke of a sharpened quill as it scrapes quickly across the page. The long uneasy silence, broken only by flashes of thought.