Scott Johnson Composer
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I Am New York City (Confetti Of Flesh) (1990) 10.30
soprano, viola, piano/synthesizer, percussion (marimba/drumset)

Commissioned by Dora Ohrenstein, with support from the Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program.  Premiered by Dora Ohrenstien, with members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Apr 26/90, St. Paul, Minn.

available on CD: “Urban Diva” – Dora Ohrenstein – CRI Records

Notes on the Music

When soprano Dora Ohrenstein approached me about a work for soprano and small ensemble, she suggested that I look at Jayne Cortez’s poem “I am New York City”.  My first impression was that there probably was an unbridgeable gap between the brash, post-Beat, street-smart surrealism of the poem’s imagery and the aura of careful refinement projected by classical voice technique.  But rather than minimize or avoid the contradictions between the two styles, I decided to allow them to collide at full speed.  Thinking of the tradition of operatic mad scenes, I imagined a somewhat less dire version, with a schizophrenic diva ricocheting down the sidewalk.  She’s out of contact with social reality, but paying sharp and sometimes joyful attention to whatever happens to pass by, including her own passing emotions, and ignoring the boundaries between herself and the rest of the world.

 

  ©2008 Scott Johnson. All rights reserved.
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