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Topic: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

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  1. #1

    Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    the first two movements of my setting of Scenes, by PP region poet laureate Aaron Anstett. All words below copyright Aaron Anstett. Setting this kind of prose poetry has been especially challenging for me...

    Scenes
    1. Against the lingerie-color sunset,
    orange and pink and filmy as a negligee, two dogs fight in a liquor store parking lot, mouths on throats, blood an inkling in the neon advertising bargains on imports. Their long shadows go slo-mo in the skittering gravel and spin under dust’s little weather systems. Customers seem to glow, sidling past then leaving with purchases.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6559885


    2. Even the curtains move
    woozily in a room the knockout gas has seeped through, making the rug and the lampshade and the couch smell like medicine. A man whistles and tilts, does a dance called “My Whole Body Feels Like an Arm I’ve Slept Funny On.” He believes he’s an iceberg. He thinks he’s a thundercloud. Suddenly he sings, “Oh, I could die right here, in the delirium of air.”
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6589379

    Thanks, everyone...

    Karen
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  2. #2
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    I'll bet is was a challenge to do this composing! I can't pretend for a minute to understand any of this. I don't know what the poet is up to, except that it all is disquieting to me. I think you have caught something of that feeling in the music you have written and presented. It has definitely evolved from the earlier posting. These pieces now are a combination of the beautiful and the vaguely disquieting (is something dreadful coming?) type of feeling, IMO.
    Yes, it is a challenge to read the works, and also a bit of a challenge to sort through the musical scenes you have made. I'll have to leave it to the more educated amongst us to analyze these further, but I wish you the best in this endeavor, John (bigears)
    Just a guess, but I'll bet you're anxiously awaiting Gary's choral library?

  3. #3

    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    Hi John,

    thanks for listening.... yes, Aaron's poetry captures multiple images and moods in so few, precisely choen words, usually an image or action that occurs in the space of a few moments. Subtle moods ever shifting, and that, along with the conversational tone, makes it a challenge to set if one is to try to set it to reflect those subtleties. I don't know if I am succeeding, but emailed these to Aaron to see if he thinks I am "getting" his poetry. He is not a musician but I am sure he'll have a feel for the mood, etc. (In fact, might be better if he is not a trained musician LOL!)

    Yes, the choral libraries. Can hardly wait !!

    Thanks again John for once again sharing your "big ears" with me :-)
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  4. #4
    Senior Member sosmus's Avatar
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    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    Karen:
    By George, I believe you've got it! Both movements are fascinating and I really like what you done both melodically and harmonically. I'm a little bothered by that very chromatic run in any inner voice, near the beginning of the first mvmt. but hey, that's just my ear. This is really turning into a top notch opus. I await more.

    Steve

  5. #5

    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    HI Steve,

    thanks for listening! yes, the chromatic part i need to look at again -- i did clean it up a bit, but it is still chromatic in the inside parts. right at the moment, i'm just writing new stuff -- i tend to do that when "the fit is on me" as I like to say, and then later go back and tweak things during cleanup mode. but to me, your ear is not "just your ear" -- it's the ear of experience that I don't have, nor will ever in my life have, since you have been doing this for so long, and i'm already an old-ish biddy at 46.

    Thank you, friend!

    Karen
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  6. #6
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    Karen,

    It's hard to comment on the music/text relationship having no actual singing - I'm imagining where the text goes in the music. Having said that, this is very beautiful writing. The warmth and lyricism are quite attractive and convincing. Of course, the new choral library will improve this a lot, but the fact that it sounds so good, at this moment, is testimony to the effectiveness of your music.

    Thanks for sharing this.
    Ron Pearl

    Website:

    ronaldmpearl.com

    myspace:

    http://myspace.com/rmpearl

  7. #7

    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    Ron, thank you for listening and commenting! yes, that is the difficulty with presenting a piece like this (for anyone who wants, i am happy to send a score, BTW...). If the text were "obvious" how it fits, that would be different. Maybe the best listening advice is to try to imagine the mood of the words as it might related to the music.

    Of course, when the Garritan choral library comes out (Gary! are you listening? LOL!) that will solve that problem!

    This has been some of the hardest writing I have done in awhile I think -- never tried to tackle something like this before. The final word will be Aaron, if he feels I captured the feel of the poetry or not...

    Plus, every "scene" is totally different, which does make it interesting to write for. I continue to be delighted by Aarons ability to write so sparely while evoking a whole host of moods and images in so few words, with a kind of subtle irony in the juxtaposition of beauty or humor and horror and everything in between.

    Thanks again Ron :-)

    K
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

  8. #8

    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    What a lovely day to eat some of my own words... lol!

    For sake of the forum, I should mention that in our
    private correspondence I've expressed some mixed
    opinions... that I wondered if you were really finding
    the substance of the material.

    But with greater familiarity with Anstett's material
    since then, and several additional hearings... Karen,
    you've most definitely won me over. There's a
    depth and richness in Anstett that is belied at
    first by surficial terseness; and the harmony (in
    the first piece, especially) captures it beautifully.

    I stand self-corrected (well, sit, actually); proof
    that even old dogs should think more before they
    bark at the postman!

    All my best,



    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  9. #9

    Re: Pikes Peak Region Poet Laureate Project

    Dave,

    Thank you so much for your kind words; made my day (a day which has hitherto remained "un-made" for the most part LOL!)

    I certainly have found setting this poetry to be a challenge, and a creative catalyst. First I try to put myself into the mood induced by the poetry and envision the scene described and then go from there....

    I'm including here the complete text of "Scenes" along with links to those that have been set to music so far (7 of the 14) for those that might want to get a more complete view.

    As always, David, thanks for all your suggestions, guidance, music, and friendship.

    Karen


    Scenes by Aaron Anstett
    Music by KE Peace

    1. Against the lingerie-color sunset,
    orange and pink and filmy as a negligee, two dogs fight in a liquor store parking lot, mouths on throats, blood an inkling in the neon advertising bargains on imports. Their long shadows go slo-mo in the skittering gravel and spin under dust’s little weather systems. Customers seem to glow, sidling past then leaving with purchases.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6559885

    2. Even the curtains move
    woozily in a room the knockout gas has seeped through, making the rug and the lampshade and the couch smell like medicine. A man whistles and tilts, does a dance called “My Whole Body Feels Like an Arm I’ve Slept Funny On.” He believes he’s an iceberg. He thinks he’s a thundercloud. Suddenly he sings, “Oh, I could die right here, in the delirium of air.”
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6589379

    3. Footprints in a prison yard’s snow,
    different sizes of the same shoe in loopy, raggedy patterns, fill with those drifting hieroglyphs falling a long way to shine all night in the floodlights. They scroll in horizontal lines like a stream of arbitrary numbers. Snow fills the nest a bird has built bit by bit by bit (burnt matches, newsprint, hair) in the fence’s concertina wire.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6598285

    4. Rags soaked in so much fuel
    the basement boiler seen past them looks shimmery catch fire. How leisurely flames stroll unfinished wallboards. Through attic windows, angled daylight, speckled with dust, shines on a dictionary with pages stained yellow, orange, and purple with pressed summer wildflowers.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6607294

    5. The antique pornographic film
    projected across a kneeling man’s unclothed back, bodies doing what along his spine, stays nothing more than light that might well ceaselessly travel, swift and immaterial, when he rises and steps aside, but here someone’s sudden, outstretched palm lifts in front of the rays: two torsos splayed out on the fingers and sepia splashing the gallery walls.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6628143

    6. Who is it holds film
    up to sunlight beside a parked car in a desert, squinting through each frame threaded between her thumb and forefinger? The engine ticks, and a few lizards flit from cactus to cactus, making time seem to stutter. She stands in a long, flowered dress, seeing far purple hills with one eye and something that makes the expression on her face change and change and change with the other.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6632246



    7. Dusk, shadows
    grown long on the freshly cut public park grasses, the few children not called home yet run faster from swings to slides and back again. The many-colored lights of televisions sparkle through house windows all around. One small boy hears his mother then lies down and plays dead, level with the lit horizon and bigger than the distant, scribbled mountains.
    http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6635301

    8. Ceiling fans burn
    drinkers’ cigarettes quicker, adrift in ashtrays, held dreaming between fingers, pressed trembling to lips. One woman shakes hers toward her listener, punctuating points she makes, their faces softened in the long, wavery mirror. One hour, the drink special’s over, but who can tell the time in here? The clock between two vodka bottles runs, what, 15, 20, 30 minutes faster?

    9. Noon, a woman
    walks from her front door to the mountains, through foothills, where trees run to scrub, then, higher, to aspen. Air thins, and she stops to rest, imagining the purely skeletal repeated figure journeying in scrolls: one person at separate times and increased heights. She stands near a pool of water at the summit in barely enough light to see the house she’s traveled far from.

    10. A man puts his hands
    on his wife’s face as they sleep. She presses her wrist to the back of his neck. All night they coil and wreathe like the letters of the alphabet of a language whose last native speaker died long ago, their blankets, kicked away and pulled back again, writing and erasing them. After the alarm clock, she moves to say something. He puts a finger to her lips.

    11. Hair waving like lake grasses
    fish flicker through—a body standing upright under water seems a body in a larger, larger room—arms held up and forward like a sleepwalker’s, who leaves the house in nightclothes to drift through a meadow, head tilted skyward as if searching a ceiling for cracks. Wound around the legs, rope’s woven through the cinder blocks it takes to anchor this one, who sways like someone hearing distant, beautiful music.

    12. The body,
    surface area inches above the water’s, rises and slides over the lip of a claw-footed bathtub, around which floorboards, beneath their checkerboard linoleum, weaken and leak. Single drops spatter a bare carpet downstairs. The body’s fall shakes a few photographs from a table. They, too, climb, a few, like the body, face up. On the water’s level, ascending finish, the letters of an inked note run.

    13. The tattooist’s tattooed hands,
    in increasingly ink-splotched surgical gloves, lift from and lie on a man’s stripped chest. When they lift for the last time: a heart directly above and same size as the real one, pierced with an arrow from whose point three tattooed blood-drops drip blood, all wrapped in a banner lettered with a woman’s name, despite the warning.

    14. Buildings, people,
    street-level neon gleam in the moving mirror a bus window makes in a sunlit city. How much eyes must see in each filmed frame: drinkers through a bar’s open doorway, one shoe on a sidewalk, scattering pigeons, and they beaks, heads, fat bodies lifted on oily wings. Checks Cashed, Bail Bonds, Good Food, Tattoo flash, letters backwards, across a passenger’s sleeping face.
    _____________________
    Listen at: www.soundclick.com/kepeaceusa
    Scores at: http://stores.lulu.com/ke_peace

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