MP3 David Franks - Sunday Morning Bells ! - Musical Words
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Andrei Codrescu, NPR
5 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Contemporary, SPOKEN WORD: With Music
(A Universal Death-into-Life Lullabye) excerpts from the "Intimate Pages"...
At best, I am simple minded, & the two melic poems on this CD that are informed by a concept -Musical Words & Whistling in the Dark -reflect this quality.
The title poem Musical Words (a Universal Death-into-Life Lullabye) is composed from two words -"d.e.a.d" & "B.A.B.E".
For the letters that spell the words, I substitute musical chords that correspond to these letters.
The "d.e.a.d" chords are minor chords because I wanted them to have a more plaintive registration than the more cheerful "B.A.B.E" chords which are major.
The Poem has four movements:
The first is made of five chorales. In each chorale, the Musical Word "d.e.a.d" moves one step at a time through the Musical Word "B.A.B.E"; until by the fifth chorale, it has passed through it entirely & the choir sings: "B.A.B.E" fol- lowed by "d.e.a.d".
Spelled out the five progressions look like this:
First Movement: (five chorales}
d . B . e . A . a . B . d . E
B . d . A . e . B . a . E . d
B . A . d . B . e . E . a . d
B . A . B. d . E . e . a . d
B . A . B . E . d . e . a . d
Second Movement: (for voice, viola, piano & guitar)
five harmonic variations of the progression "d .e .a. d"
composed of approximations of those sounds which infants make universally when their needs are not gratified.
Despite this rather gloomy prospect, I meant to reverse expectations & in so doing make the offering of a lullabye that would sooth & comfort troubled minds.
Third Movement: (string quartet)
The 3rd Movement is the Ist Movement
"backwards" & "upside down"
To this end, we took the first movement of the Poem &
reversed the order of the chords taking it from the "bottom" (the end of the 5th chorale). The five movements then looked like this:
E . d . B . a . A . e . B . d
d . E . a . B . e . A . d . B
d . a . E . e . B . d . A . B
d . a . e . E . d . B . A . B
d . a . e . d . E . B . A . B
At this time, however, this reversal of expectation alone did not seem enough & we decided it was necessary to turn the poems "upside down" if ever there was going to be life affirming resolution.
This rearranged music was then turned literally "upside down" on the manuscript pages & then it looked like this. In Plain English:
E . A . D . E . d . g . a . g
E . A . D . d . E . g . a . g
E . A . d . D . g . E . a . g
E . d . A . g . D . a . E . g
d . E . g . A . a . D . g . E
There are some things about happy endings it seems that can get confusing!
Fourth Movement: (celeste & voice)
five harmonic variations of the progression "B.A.B.E"
composed of approximations of those sounds which infants make universally when they are most at peace -
the back-throat unconstricted vowel sounds:
"ah","oh","oo"; the nursing sounds: "p","b","m" & the dental sounds: "d","t"
In plain English it reads like this:
I like to think of these as my most mature lyrics!
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