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A slide choreography of Emily Dickinson’s “#348" (“I dreaded that first robin so”) followed by Richard Brooks’s TRIO for violin, violoncello, and piano. The illustrations to the one became the artifacts of the other.

THE POEM

This work deals with the arrival of spring, and is weird and surreal and quite wonderful in its lunacy:

I DREADED that first robin, so,
But he is mastered, now,
And I’m some accustomed to him grown,
He hurts a little, though–

I thought if I could only live
Till that first Shout got by
Not all Pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me–

I dared not meet the Daffodils–
For fear their Yellow Gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own–

I wish the Grass would hurry–
So–‘twas time to see–
He’d be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch–to look at me–

I could not bear the Bees should come,
I wished they’d stay away
In those dim countries where they go,
What word had they, for me?

They’re here, though; not a creature failed–
No Blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me–
The Queen of Calvary–

Each one salutes me as he goes,
And I, my childish Plumes,
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking Drums--

The stanzas consist of lines of alternating iambic tetrameters and trimeters. The rhyming is sporadic and offers some superb examples of off-rhyme.

THE MUSIC

Of his TRIO for violin, violoncello, and piano, composer Richard Brooks writes: that it “while cast in one continuous movement, there are broad sections of differing character, reminiscent of traditional multi-movement forms.

“At the beginning, all three instruments strike a twelve-note chord that forms the raw material for the entire work. This chord recurs at crucial moments, frequently launching new sections. Each instrument exploits and develops specific intervallic structures derived from that opening chord. The materials are exploited both tonally and atonally in a subjective, intuitive manner. Throughout the work, I strove to attain a high degree of lyricism and emotional intensity.”

This work was composed as a result of a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

THE VISUALS

These are digital images, all of them based on photos taken by me with a Canon D7 hither and yon, but most especially in various parts of Austria, Fleischmanns, NY, and Palm Coast, FL. As is my usual practice, individual photos were digitized as high-level tifs, then edited and rendered as jpegs and psds in Photoshop, and then imported into Proshow Producer and synched to the audio.

j vimeo.com/69618618

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