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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Two tracks from the Gonzales Cantata

Currently, when I'm not rehearsing with the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, I'm supposedly working on my composition degree. As I think I've mentioned on here in the past, one piece I'm working on is a cantata based on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings of Alberto Gonzales.

Because half the reason I'm writing it is that hardly anyone I speak to in the real world seems to know anything whatsoever about Gonzales, it's pretty unashamedly pop neo-Baroque. It's about half-finished; I guess it will be about 40-45 minutes long when it's done. I created the libretto from the actual transcripts, and for shits and giggles, I reversed the genders of all the performers, so every role (Gonzales, Specter, Leahy, etc, who also all double as the chorus) is sung by a soprano or alto, with the exception of Diane Feinstein, who is a tenor. Instrumentation is chamber strings and harpsichord.

Anyway, I had two pieces from the cantata played at a new music concert at my college the other day, and I recorded a rehearsal:

Freedom Overture (har har har, it's a French overture, geddit?)
Aria: "Differently" (Gonzales)

Text excerpted from US Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, April 19, 2007.

GONZALES: Looking back,
things that I would have done differently?
I should have told him,
And I think he should have --
I should have asked him
I should have told him the factors
that I thought were important for him to consider.
I should have told him,
And I think I would have told him --
I should have told him,
And we should have a list.
I think these are the things --
I think these are the kinds of things, in hindsight,
that I wish would have happened.
I think it's also unfair
(I think it’s all so unfair)
It is clear that we struggled -- not struggled –
Where we made a mistake, clearly -- I think --
is once we said "performance,"
we should have defined that.
Because performance, for me, means lots of things.
It means whether or not you've got leadership skills,
whether or not you've got management skills.
It may mean whether or not
you support the president.
It may mean that you don't have --
that you have a sufficient --
that you have relationships.
And so there are lots of things that fall within
the definition of performance-related.
And I think that we should --
we should have defined what we meant by that.

(This aria comes right before the final chorale of the cantata - "God Bless America" - and is composed of cut up quotes from the hearing -- his stumbles, mostly.)

Anyway, it's just a crappy recording from a rehearsal, but I thought I would put it out there to kick my own arse into finishing it.
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