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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Gonzales Cantata: the Humble Beginnings

Clips show blog entry!

Two years ago this month, I blogged:
I've embarked on a ridiculously ambitious composition project for the semester - I'm writing a cantata based on the senate judiciary hearings of Alberto Gonzales. Come on, if you had an idea like that, you'd sacrifice sleep and sanity to follow through as well. The only question in my mind is whether to call it Gonzales! The Cantata or stick to something more straight. I spent my first semester weekend cutting an 11-page libretto out of 240 pages of transcript from two separate hearings and his resignation speech.

A few months later:
I had the overture and an aria from the Gonzales cantata played at the end-of-semester composition final, and they've been picked up for the New Music concert at West Chester University on January 31st, which is exciting. I really should devote some of my newfound and short-lived free time to finishing as much of that sucker as I can; I'm terrified that if I delay too long, Gonzales will blow over in the news, given the fickleness of the American press and public.

March 2008:
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.

A year later, the premiere was given at West Chester University for my senior recital, then a 20-minute excerpt was performed at one of the more public New Music Concerts.
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