for high voice and string quartet; 7′ (2004)
poetry: Kenneth Rexroth
(commissioned by Mills Music Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
performed by Mimmi Fulmer and a quartet of UW-Madison graduate students:
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Published by Classical Vocal Reprints
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The library is not only a place where we keep books and periodicals, but an archive of memories, a collection of roads leading to an infinite variety of remote and exotic locales. The objects in a library act as tour guides to other worlds of knowledge, and as doorways to the world of memory. In Kenneth Rexroth’s “GIC to HAR,” something as seemingly mundane as one volume of an encyclopedia performs an almost magical act of this kind. Upon reading the book, the poem’s narrator is not only transported through space to the banks of Ten Mile Creek, but also back through time to the days of his youth, to the memory of the creek before it became overtaken by pollution. This journey from the library into the world of long-lost memory feels magical: the impersonal information stored in the encyclopedia becomes a gateway to reviving the personal memories in the reader’s mind, transporting that reader from the library to the banks of the creek. My musical setting of “GIC to HAR” aims for similar acts of magic. By fusing detached, impersonal music with fiercely personal expressions, this song mirrors the transportation from encyclopedia to riverbank that animates the library, while hopefully transporting the listener at the same time.