still getting rid of: prominent compositional devices and aesthetic decisions
still getting rid of is a set of songs for soprano, mezzo-soprano and orchestra. Two vocal soloists are presented as a single protagonist, singing poetry written by Clint McCallum. The individual movements (with durations) are: Introduction: "welcome back" (1:00), Trauma/Birth (2:40), Interlude 1 (:20), Learning/New Body New Mind (1:30), Interlude 2 (:20), Waiting/Only death will cure you (3:00), Tattoo You/Tattoo Me (4:00), Interlude 3 (:45), and Concescration (4:00). The poetry that has been set presents the narrative of an individual living with and through an unidentified traumatic event. Harmonically, the piece ranges from free atonality, microtonality, to functional tonality. The vocal writing is based primarily on rhythmically unanimous behaviors between the vocalists, supporting their unification into a single protagonist. The orchestra functions in three ways: as support for, extension of, and as antagonist to the soloists. These orchestral behaviors are achieved through a range of orchestrational strategies, from traditional section-based activity to divisions of the orchestra into chamber sub--groups. The vocal soloists embody multiple emotional/psychological states, which are achieved through a full range of vocal behaviors: dissonant harmonic relationships occasionally (but not often) balanced by consonance, extreme vocal registers suddenly appearing within otherwise calm landscapes, and the use of a megaphone to timbrally distance the protagonist from his/her primary role. With the exception of a few isolated moments, the text is presented by the soloists in such a way that it can be intelligible without the aid of the written text.