If only after you then me
for voice (mezzo-soprano) & violin
Premiere: Duo Cortona, September 2015 (10 minutes)
If only after you then me was conceived as companion music to my short 2012 piece for vocalist and violin, litany. Duo Cortona, comprised of vocalist Rachel Calloway and violinist Ari Streisfeld, had begun to perform litany on numerous occasions and eventually commissioned the new music in anticipation of a concert for the 2015 Resonant Bodies Festival in Brooklyn, New York. In performance, the entirety of litany follows If only after you then me attacca.
The piece is a monologue (in a person’s own mind), a dialogue (between intimate partners) or both. The text was written as the music was written and is therefore an integral part of the piece’s rhythm, flow, texture, and surface. Words and sounds (from the players’ voices, bodies, and the violin) are fragmented and choked; they are submerged and then exploded to the surface; darkness and anxiety give way to calm and space. My music deals in contrasts and the world of If only after you then me is a study in my particular form of emotional and expressive schizophrenia.
every graphic thought narcoleptic fantasy //in my memory you’re a rare creature jagged apparition swollen body desperate predator//If only after you then me//I wake I breathe I wait I want I need I watch I sleep I dream I kill I’m born I die I eat I watch I touch I fuck I feel I feel I need I want I feel I need I kill I kill I fuck I want (cut, my mouth my tongue my lips my face my neck my skin your) Memory, like a deep wound carved into my mind; I remember, you, like a scar. Running my hand over the dead flesh. our lives, an abattoir. meaningful. lying there, awake. sitting.//here//I can see you sleep eyes turned inward I can’t join you so I watch//so close you are too far (sweetly towards a dream I feel your eyes on me you are too far)// if you don’t hear from me send help//don’t promise//don’t choke//your memory like a scar//a destructive love airtight co-temporary periodic chaos//a memory, a scar, your memory, a scar//your mouth and eyes your skin your skin your flesh wet flesh a rare creature a jagged apparition swollen body desperate predator gorgeous teen flesh a black cigarette blood red razor blades mouth eyes eyes face eyes face lips flesh a rare creature gorgeous teen flesh every fiction every collision a composite disaster love is a fashionable emotion eyes mouth lips eyes face eyes your mouth our lips your mouth our eyes your face my hand your eyes my mouth your neck our skin your hair our lips your sweat my mouth your ear our skin your hands my mouth your neck your mouth your skin your sweat your room your city your city your your body is our bodies bodies are we are bro ken we we bro ken we are we we are help please every graphic thought don’t help send don’t hear from me send help if only don’t don’t don’t CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT you’re too far so tell me your words one text message at a time me please your body is bodies are we are me please//[litany]//screaming head, clenched teeth, white knuckles, sweated brow, bloodshot eyes, exhausted and empty, effeminate, endlessly eradicated, Elysium, emasculate, emphallic, embolism, encephalitis, eviscerate, extirpate, entropy, ephedrine, enuresis, excrescence, encyst, eternal return