for bass clarinet, percussion, and piano
novena exists at the intersection of meditation and vulnerability, where sound is met with a queer reverence. The work proposes a structure for mindfulness and self-care, based essentially on concepts of vulnerability, marginalization, invisible emotional labor, and potential for joy in queer life. Delicate, fragile, imperfect multiphonics in clarinet and harmonics in the piano define the parameters of resonance and harmony. The percussionist embodies invisible labor, navigating an alternate history of timekeeping, sound-making, and movement; while navigating the complex physical reality of the many tasks they are asked to do simultaneously. The Novena, a Catholic tradition of nine-day successive prayer, is recontextualized as the structure into which these musical elements exist, the piece divided into nine exponentially lengthening phrases, each instigated by the percussionist’s circular crotale hits. The last and longest of these prayer-phrases acts as a quiet dance- floor anthem, the three performers finally merging their individual paths in celebration and community.
novena was commissioned by Conduit, and will be premiered in 2020.