CANTATA FOR CHORUS, SSATB SOLOISTS, CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, ELECTRONICS AND VIDEO
Of petals, ripe-blown and silkily smooth (2005-2007) is a vocal work depicting censorship, inspired by Diane Ravitch’s The Language Police. The piece’s central themes include censorship in American educational publishing and the media’s contributing role. While drawing on a variety of textual and visual sources, the work also demonstrates how the methods of modern music can be used to send mixed signals. At times cynical, at times euphoric, the music is at all times on the verge of becoming propaganda itself. A basic program is as follows:
- I. Prelude. Introduces the work’s harmonic environment.
- II. We stand. Expository remarks on censorship, on the situation in contemporary educational publishing.
- III. Rechenhaftigkeit (Ger. “rational calculation”). Ballet of editors, authors, and critics; the effects of publisher censorship and bowdlerization guidelines, consequences with regard to the English language.
- IV. Intermezzo: Chatter. An electronic soundscape bridging the gap between the publishers of today and the heavily- censored governments of recent history.
- V. The sentry at the door saluted me first. Politcal censorship at its logical extreme. The music now generates its own propagandistic devices common to recent documentary and film music.
- VI. A love of nature keeps no factories busy. The root of censorship-based policy: to manipulate, to brainwash from a vulnerable age.
- VII. Marauders of the Country Estate. On the importance of preserving our history, culture, and language; from an author of educa- tional textbooks.
- VIII. Intermezzo: The Iron Cage. A final soundscape to echo the warning, once more, against these contemporary practices. The voice of Max Weber.
- IX. Filibuster. A protest; a collage of banned words and phrases, like a filibuster on the Senate floor.