I was recently asked by trombonist Steve Parker to write a short solo piece for trombone. Hear Steve on myspace here. He is a fine trombonist and is working on a commissioning project that explores the link between language and music.

The poem “The Creations of Sound” by Wallace Stevens became the inspiration for the piece.

A couple lines in the poem sparked my imagination:

They do not make the visible a little hard
To see nor, reverberating, eke out the mind
Or peculiar horns, themselves eked out
By the spontaneous particulars of sound.

I composed the piece in eleven small parts that can be played in any order. Each section became a (kind of) variation on the previous one. I liked the idea of writing a piece in mobile form. The piece is roughly two and a half minutes in length, and the title, speech/unspoken, comes from the last lines o the poem:

We say ourselves in syllables that rise
From the floor, rising in speech we do not speak.

On a side note, right before I started composing this piece my computer died. Since I was without my notation software I composed the entire piece using the melody composer on my cell phone. (mobile form….get it!)

Tonight, Steve will be performing speech/unspoken along with other works from this commissioning project at the Steinway Gallery in Anchorage, Alaska.

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