Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Back in the land of the Kaiser and the King, puffed snow falling on the tennis courts outside, xmas music drifting up through the open window cooling off the overheated room, the Empress and I basking in unfettered wifi here at the Seepark Hotel, who immediately Facebook-liked the mini Instagram video of the aforementioned snow, and basking also in a breakfast buffet with Mr Gerhard Lehner, the Impresario at the Klagenfurter Ensemble.

I've included a video above of the SFCCO concert where we played a suite of music intended for the piece I am working on in Austria. How it fits or where I do not know, since my work on the piece has so far been vague and unfocused. I'm told by everyone I work quickly, amazingly quickly, but the encroaching premiere is not without anxiety, actualized in my recent dreams involving 1) the assignment of insoluble problems, 2) fast-paced confusions about time and place, 3) doing bad things and worrying about getting caught, and 4) general teeth-clenching situations from xmas-themed horror movies.  But I think the video at least is good, mixing some HD camera footage from Clubhouse Studios with some surprisingly beautiful 4K iPhone video and also my beloved a7S II. I added some of the bass drum that we didn't have, and I tuned a few things here and there with Melodyne, but that's just me being overly attentive, when I really should be working on the opera itself instead of fucking around with my computer. 

But Peter Wagner and I did go through the text yesterday and the structure is much clearer. The ship as microcosm: from the initial euphoria of the launching and the war to be over by xmas, to the first few unexpected delays and the sodden realization of the horror, to the mortal wounding of the boat, its own machines reflecting the war's endless mechanized slaughter, to the rats escaping, the final appeals to patriotism, then the sinking and then the quiet:

Verschwinde, Mond! - Nacht will ich und Finsternis,
damit, was mich umgibt, verkohlt für immer,
und was in mir lebt, stirbt - keine Hoffnung, kein Kummer,
Ich will das große Nichts, wo kein Wind ist, wo nichts ist.

Disappear, moon! - I want night and darkness,
so that what surrounds me is burned away forever,
and what lives in me dies - no hope, no sorrow,
I want the void, where there is no wind, where there is nothing.

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