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Words Without Songs

Written for Norfolk New Music Workshop 2023

Instrumentation - Clarinet, Trombone, Percussion, Piano, Violin, Cello, Bass

Duration - 10:30

In a lecture later titled “The Order of Discourse”, Foucault claims that “in every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organized and redistributed by a certain number of procedures whose role is to ward off its powers and dangers, to gain mastery over its chance events, to evade its ponderous, formidable materiality.”

There is discourse in this piece too, as with all pieces. In order to frame music as a discursive process, the rhythms and pitch contours of the material are derived from various national “sacred texts”, but of course the words themselves are missing. Its content is not the content of the discourse but the discourse’s control, selection, etc. Without the distraction of text, maybe discourse can be observed with greater clarity; all that remain are the raw musical affect of speech and the attempts of both the composer and audience to ward off, gain mastery and evade materiality.

Ning Zhang - Clarinet

Yuki Mori - Trombone

Makana Medeiros - Percussion

Liam Wooding - Piano

Lauren Conroy - Violin

Thomas Hung - Cello

Alyssa Peterson - Double Bass

Lisa Moore - Conductor

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