Badlands

ENS.088 | 8.11.07-12.25.07 | 14’
Baritone, 2 Bass Clarinets

Midi Rendition of “Badlands”

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Badlands
Texts by Sam Shepard from “Motel Chronicles” and “Hawk Moon”

When as a young man I tried writing a novel it opened with a scene from my childhood, a visit to the Cabazon dinosaurs, two life-size models of enormous extinct beasts standing sentinel in a lonely desert near Palm Springs. Imagine my surprise when a few years later I picked up Sam Shepard’s Motel Chronicles and discovered it began with a version of the same scene! Although Shepard perhaps misremembers their location or is thinking of something else, this coincidence started me thinking about setting some texts from Motel Chronicles and its companion, Hawk Moon, each with its own evocative character.

There are six sections: “9/1/80 Homestead Valley, CA”, about a trip to the dinosaurs with the narrator’s mother, “1/13/80 Petaluma, CA”, a useful a cappella description of sticking your arm down a horse’s throat, “10/14/80 Coachella, CA” and “Heaven’s Fist”, two desert poems, followed by an instrumental interlude, and “Sea Sleep”, a story about a man and his ocean.