Lover's Dusk: a monodrama for baritone, string quartet, and owl (2018) - 19 minutes
Premiered at LAMP - June 23, 2018.
Revised January 2019 -- presented with revisions at my Doctoral Composition (DMA) Recital on February17th, 2019 in Walter Hall at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. The video below is from my DMA Recital.
David Diston, baritone
Aysel Taghi-Zada, violin
Hua-Chu Huang, violin
Laurence Schaufele, viola
Amahl Arulanandam, cello
Matthias McIntire, conductor/electronics/libretto
Calvin Campos and Kay Evans-Stocks, video
Peter Olsen, audio
'Lover’s Dusk' was written for the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance’s Composition Workshop in June 2018. I was tasked with writing a piece in response to the painting 'Lover’s Dusk' by the American artist Craig Rubadoux. The painting is a semi-abstract portrayal of two lovers. It is a whirlwind of colourful, dusk-lit energy and it is recreated on my character’s violin.
When I was trying to come up with what to do, my mind went immediately to a long-term relationship which had recently ended. I began to reflect on the difficulties we had been having towards the end. I read through my journal entries from about a two-week period during this difficult time and I was struck by a few things: the genuine-ness of my emotion, how dramatic (over-dramatic?) it was, and also how easily I would switch from mulling over the heartache to worrying about my career and all the work I had to do... in the same run-on sentence... which, in retrospect, I thought was hilarious.
With this in mind I decided to write a piece of musical theatre that would present a psychological portrait of a man wrestling with difficulties in his relationship. I wanted to capture the genuine emotion and real-life drama I had experienced, push the melodrama over the top, while also poking fun at the idea of melodrama, as well as my past self.
My solution was to place a tragic character in an absurd world; the character stays true to his heartfelt experience, while the world around him becomes increasingly absurd, deranged, and hopefully fun(ny). It’s tragedy-dark comedy.