AMBIENT OPERA

In early 1998, I had become interested in the idea of composing music of extreme duration — an idea born from the long pieces of Morton Feldman, the early ensemble pieces of Philip Glass, and surrealist poet Federico Garcia Lorca's concept of the "pasaje."

What I saw in those pieces, and reflected in mine, was the idea of a glacially-paced metamorphosis of harmony and melody completely divorced from an audible temporal grid. The result of this manner of compositional thinking are these ambient operas — "ambient" in the Satie/Eno sense of the word, and "opera" in the Robert Wilson tradition of a large scale 'work.'

Extraordinarily physically taxing to play, the durations of these operas became shorter over time — the longest, Advent Days, is 24 hours of an unbroken chain of sound.[escala.] became, for me, the ideal length — 5 hours. A seemingly reasonable amount of time to allow the music to emanate from a single source, fill the space, and recede over time.

 

[escala.]

for Unspecified Ensemble
5 Hours (2000)

she stood there —
sliding into night

for Voice, Accordion, Electric Organ, and 2 Violoncelli
61 mins. (1999)

Advent Days

an Opera in Three Acts with Death Diagram
24 Hours (1998)

Jacob's Ladder

for Unspecified Ensemble
12 Hours (1999)