With my trio, I improvised and recorded poetry from the movements of Imagism, Cubism, and Futurism.
We picked two different Imagist poems, “In a Station of the Metro” and the “Sea Rose,” and took two very different approaches. Because Ezra Pound was so focused on brevity, for “In a Station of the Metro,” we thought it an interesting idea to create a texture for each of the images he presented (for example, “The apparition,” then “of these faces,” then “in the crowd,” etc). Webern’s Bagatelles also served as an inspiration for this idea. Our goals were to create interesting and diverse textures that could somehow represent each image.
In the “Sea Rose,” we decided to do something very different. The goal was to portray this “meagre flower,” the symbol for a woman, amidst the hardships that comes with being a woman, especially around 1916, when women were fighting for their rights. The flute’s relentless notes were supposed show that confined space that women had been tied down to for centuries. The cello’s melody using harmonics showed that vulnerability (as opposed to the real tone of the violin, who represents the sensual and “wet rose”). We also used colegno to represent the sand in the air and slides for the wind.
We chose Gertude Stein's "A Very Valentine" to try to create a Cubist piece. We thought it would be interesting to use Stavinsky's langauge of collage for inspiration. With this poem, we composed a melody and tried to present it in the style of a fugue: creating many entrances of the subject in various keys, using fragmentation, introducing new material, and especially creating a variety of characters. I also created a visual map to sketch out the ideas I had.
In the Futurist Manifesto, we concentrated on trying to show its major points: speed, power, machinery… We recorded a long version which we did on the spot and gave us ideas for further experimentation. The shorter excerpts demonstrate show this experimentation with speed the concept of building of a machine. With this, we wanted to show the sounds one hears in an industrialized society.