En Route

ENS.2008.1 | 5′
Poem by Adam Zagejewski
Soprano & Glockenspiel


En Route

I heard this secondhand, but supposedly the composer and guitarist Mark Dancigers once said “glockenspiel is the new feedback.” That sounds about right. What Indie rock band doesn’t have a little glock action nowadays? (I wrote these notes in 2008, the year of Arcade Fire.)

So glockenspiel and voice may not be the most obvious or inviting musical combination, but neither is it completely without precedent, and the shimmering tinny clink of the glockenspiel is sometimes attractive to me. Plus, these poems with their brilliant aphoristic descriptions of Europe and Italy seemed to call for a brightly-colored yet simple orchestration.

Adam Zagajewski is one of Europe’s (and Texas’s) greatest poets, but his forms do not generally lend themselves to my Cellular Song Cycle approach. However, En Route’s fourteen sections worked perfectly in this case. My piece begins with an a cappella introduction followed by twelve songs, each based on a single note, and ends with the complete twelve-tone “row” in the order we have heard them in the work.