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Music Text

Various (E)


Abbreviations (PDF)


World Premiere
2/2/2019
Tsai Performance Center at Boston University, Boston, MA
Zorana Sadiq, soprano / Boston Musica Viva
Composer's Notes

I wonder, is there anyone who isn’t fascinated by the moon? It has captured the imagination of humankind since our beginnings. In addition to the concerted efforts over centuries to understand it in physical and scientific terms, it has played roles in countless mythologies and religions, it was been associated with love, insanity, beauty, mystery, supernatural forces, alien beings. Humans have, over the years, projected all their fears, desires, and fantasies onto this bright form in the night sky. My piece is based on these many projections we imprint on earth’s closest neighbor. I have chosen eleven fragments from various texts, some science, some poetry, some fiction, some religious, some fables—which refer to the moon in some way or another. It was indeed hard to narrow it down to a mere eleven, with such a superabundance of amazing examples! I chose a diverse set of perspectives, from Wikipedia entries, to a passage from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to a scene from Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, to a passage from the Upanishads, to a quote from Neil Armstrong as he stood on the moon’s surface, to a witty Edgar Allan Poe science fiction piece about landing on the moon, to a stanza from a popular song from early in the 20th century, which I hope will give a sense of the breadth of perspectives from which we view our lovely celestial neighbor. All the sections are sung, except for the Edgar Allan Poe, which is spoken at a brisk pace. As the cycle progresses the boundaries between the songs sometime become less discreet, with the Poe text, from Unparalleled Adventure of one Hans Pfaall, interlocking with several other songs. It is anticipated just before we hear a stanza of an Emily Dickenson poem about the moon’s gravitational force, and then interrupted right in it’s middle by a stanza from the popular song “Moonlight Bay.” The piece closes with a short passage from the Upanishads translated into english in the 19th century: “the moon, having become mind, entered into the heart.”

Press Quotes

“With its content and musical style, Currier’s arresting score invites comparisons with Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire. But where Pierrot conveys madness, Eleven Moons is contemplative, the music offering uneasy solace in the face of mystery.” —Boston Classical Review

“Words from Wikipedia, Poe, Neil Armstrong, and the Upanishads all figured in. The word-focused composition held Viva in roles of reflection, commentary, ambiance, and astonishment. Currier assigned mysteriously colored harmonies, some of them teasingly lush, and an overall extra-terrestrial conjuring. Trusting the printed text rather than Sadiq’s enunciation would give raison-d’etre to a kind of evolved Pierrot Lunaire.” — Boston Musical Intelligencer


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