Performed live at the Davis Square Theater by the Arneis Quartet during AFTER THE THAW, the fourth concert of the Fifth Floor Collective's fifth season.
You are missing here. was originally composed for solo cello back in 2011. Of all the instruments for which I have an affinity, the cello is the one dearest to me, as it has been my primary instrument since the age of 11. Had I not broken my arm in high school, which lead to the suggestion of my orchestra director that I should pursue composition, I would have probably continued on my path toward becoming a professional orchestral player. But, having broken my arm in two places, playing the cello was never quite the same. Though I managed to continue to perform after my arm healed I never regained the level of comfortability I once had on the instrument. A prospect that at the time was heartbreaking.
Like most pieces I write, You are missing here. is not simply drawn from a single impetus, but is a confluence of strands as the piece was conceived during a long period of time in which the person most dear to me, my wife, was absent for long stretches of time due to her own exciting artistic pursuits. In her absence, I found myself dusting off my cello and re-familiarizing myself with the instrument. After brushing up on solo works that I had once played, works by Hindemith, Rachmaninov, and, of course, Bach, I began to view my time playing on the instrument from a creative guise. I started to communicate not just a feeling of solitary melancholy in her absence, but also capturing moments of joy and exhilaration that I wished to capture and share after the fact, like my trip to St. Petersburg that she unfortunately couldn’t join.
In effect, the piece became a deeply personal journal in which I was conveying a myriad of emotional states through the more visceral vantage of performer, rather than my more typically cerebral role of composer. In the absence of one partner, I became reacquainted with another and wrote a piece about—what else?... the absence of my other.
Four years after finishing the piece, I’ve found myself in a familiar position, my wife has been away on tour for an extended period of time. I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit the piece. Rearranging and rethinking the piece for string quartet.
Mvt. II of COME SOON, YOU FERAL CATS (2015) by Patrick Greene (b. 1985) - a two-movement cycle on the poetry of W.S. Di Piero, composed for and premiered by loadbang ensemble.
Recorded during the premiere performance: April 28, 2015 at the Davis Square Theater in Somerville, MA, during AFTER THE THAW - the fourth concert of the Fifth Floor Collective's fifth season.
Performers: Adrian Sandi (bass clarinet), Andy Kozar (C trumpet), Jeffrey Gavett (baritone voice), and William Lang (trombone)
Great poetry, I think, is what happens when words on a page become more than themselves. It’s when language starts to feel like a door thrown open, a torch lit, a rope lashed to a dark mountainside. Great poems make us feel like there are – have always been – unknown universes just beyond the quotidian, graspable realities of our waking lives; perhaps more importantly, they show us that we share those universes with each other.
W. S. Di Piero’s poetry – lyrical, visual, humanist; teetering between the abstractive and the extractive – is full of this sort of thing. Take a poem like “One Night at the End of Winter,” for example (the first movement of COME SOON, YOU FERAL CATS): it starts as a simple meditation on the fact that it’s raining outside, and it ends with a vision of rainy-night multiverses, spinning on through time, peopled with humans sitting in windows wishing it would just stop raining already.
Di Piero turned out to be a generous, thoughtful collaborator. He walked me through some of the ideas and techniques scaffolding his poetry; he shared his musical history with me (turns out he’s quite a fan of contemporary classical works); he was a supportive, kind, receptive presence, and it was an honor to set his words.
It was also an honor to compose another piece for loadbang – one of the most committed, exciting new-music groups working today.
COME SOON, YOU FERAL CATS is dedicated, with great love and appreciation, to my parents, Donald and JoAnne.
"Nocturne" from TOMBO by W.S. DI PIERO. Copyright 2014 by W.S. Di Piero. Used by permission of the poet.
Videography by Matthew Jackson
Audio Engineering by Andrew Paul Jackson
Edited by Patrick Greene
- patrickgreenemusic.com loadbang.com fifthfloorcollective.com