Carelessly Open, Something Unsaid,

the Phone off the Hook [ 2014 ]

for trombone ensemble

Night, like velvet: in twelve letters [ 2013 ]

for flute, clarinet, oboe/english horn,

trombone, violin, viola, 'cello, double bass

piano & percussion

 

Le Lobster Phone: Seven Surrealist Statements

from the Notebooks of Salvador Dali [ 2012 ]

for flute, english horn,

two guitars, violin, 'cello, & piano

 

 

LARGE

CHAMBER WORKS |

PORTFOLIO

 
Carelessly Open, Something Unsaid, the Phone off the Hook [ 2014 ]

for trombone ensemble

ABOUT

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.

I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.   

Then the almost unnameable lust returns.

 

Even then I have nothing against life.

I know well the grass blades you mention,   

the furniture you have placed under the sun.

 

But suicides have a special language.

Like carpenters they want to know which tools.

They never ask why build.

 

Twice I have so simply declared myself,   

have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,   

have taken on his craft, his magic.

 

In this way, heavy and thoughtful,   

warmer than oil or water,

I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

 

I did not think of my body at needle point.

Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.   

Suicides have already betrayed the body.

MEDIA

Still-born, they don’t always die,

but dazzled, they can’t forget a drug so sweet   

that even children would look on and smile.

 

To thrust all that life under your tongue!—

that, all by itself, becomes a passion.   

Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,

 

and yet she waits for me, year after year,   

to so delicately undo an old wound,   

to empty my breath from its bad prison.

 

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,   

raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon,   

leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

 

leaving the page of the book carelessly open,

something unsaid, the phone off the hook

and the love whatever it was, an infection.

 

from Wanting to Die

Anne Sexton

Night, like velvet: in twelve letters [ 2013 ]

a multi-movement work

for chamber ensemble

ABOUT

Night, like velvet: in twelve letters is an interdisciplinary work in twelve movements. George began the project in January 2013, constraining herself to write one movement during each month throughout the year. Each movement was written as a musical letter to someone in George’s life. The instrumentation takes into account the makeup of her ensemble (the Curiosity Cabinet), the dedicatee(s) of each movement, and her desire to include differentiated timbral combinations throughout the cycle. Mirroring the non-linear nature of memory, Night’s monthly letters can be performed in various orders, each of which brings out different structural and expressive relationships. Thus, though a full performance of the work could imply a linear narrative, the cycle remains multivalent, providing a range of affective suggestions.A selection of poetry or prose from Sylvia Plath or Ted Hughes accompanies each movement.

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Though George chose texts from different periods of each writer’s life—some when they were romantically involved and some not—she maintains a thematic focus on displacements of time, fragmentation rather than cohesion, and the alternately amorous and strained meanderings of communication between lovers. In the composer’s full score (which is excessively colorful due to her penchant for highlighting meter changes), as well as in each instrumentalist’s part, lines or words of the

 

selected texts are correlated with specific musical moments. In a sense, these texts are a silent continuo part being juxtaposed with the music, but they are only “heard” through realization by the reader/listener.Evoking the productive tension between process and product, George’s Night is a fragmented yet loosely programmatic reflection of creative life of its composer and nostalgic mediation on the passing time.

Movements

Still & Brimming—Mirror

for flute, clarinet, violin, 'cello, & percussion

 

Cracked Looking Glass

for violin & 'cello

 

A Compass as My Planchette

for voice and percussion

(alt. version—full chamber ensemble & voice)

 

 

Her Secret Drawer

for clarinet, trombone, viola, 'cello, double bass,

percussion, & piano

 

As the Crow Flies

for flute, violin, 'cello, percussion, piano, and voice

 

Burning a Name with Black Edges

for violin & piano

(alt. version—violin, 'cello, and piano)

In Green Water

for flute, clarinet, violin, 'cello,

percussion, and piano

 

The Flickering of a Four-Cornered Eye

for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, 'cello, double bass, percussion, and voice

 

Watching the Dark Slowly Unfold

for oboe/english horn, violin, viola, 'cello, and piano

 

 

Your Night Dances

for flute, clarinet, oboe, violin, viola, 'cello, double bass, and piano

 

Open me or Readdress me

for solo percussion

 

Rope at the Throat

for flute, violin, 'cello, and percussion

Movements

 
Le Lobster Phone: Seven Surrealist Statements
from the Notebooks of Salvador Dalí [ 2012 ]

a multi-movement work

for chamber ensemble

MEDIA

The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.

for solo flute

 

The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret. 

for English Horn, Violin, Violoncello, & Two Guitars

 

I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.

for Flute & Two Guitars

 

The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot. 

English Horn, Violin, & Violoncello

 

I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it.

for solo English Horn

 

Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing. 

for Flute, Violin, Violoncello, & Two Guitars

 

Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it. 

for tutti ensemble

copyright

Whitney E. George

2020