Vocallective Performs Chausson from Indre Viskontas on Vimeo.

I have spent a lot of time in the past two years thinking about what makes music – music. These years have also been the most difficult of my life, and I have turned again and again to music for comfort, ritual, inspiration, and as a way of processing the cataclysmic changes that I have experienced. Music is many things, but in the recent past, it has given a tangible voice to the losses that I have endured, and more than anything else, has been the sound of absence. The pieces that I chose to present on this recital in September of 2014 represent a type of absence, each in its own way.

Chamber music is a chance for the audience to eavesdrop on an intimate conversation between a set of solo players. My musical conversations with these six musicians have kept my soul well fed and helped my heart to heal, while also exercising my intellect. To add your own voice to ours, visit www.TheEnsembleProject.com where you can watch and listen to us work, and tell us which of our performances you find to be most representative of what you think is musical.

Chanson perpétuelle

Nocturne Poem by Charles Cros (1842-1888)
from Le Coffret de Santal, in Chansons perpétuelles, no. 2

Shivering woods, starred sky,
My beloved has gone away,
Taking my desolate heart with him!

Winds, may your plaintive murmuring,
May your songs, charming nightingales,
Tell him that I die.

The first night that he came here,
My soul was at his mercy.
I no longer cared about my pride.
My glances were full of confessions,
He took me nervously into his arms
And kissed me near my hair.
I felt a strong shiver.
And then, I no longer know how,
He became my lover.

I said to him: ‘You will love me
for as long as you can.’
I only slept well in his arms.

But he, sensing his heart grow cold,
Went, the other morning,
Without me, to a faraway land.

Because I no longer have my friend,
I will die in the pool, between
The flowers, under the sleeping current.

When I arrive at the bank, to the wind
I will say his name, dreaming
That I await his imminent return.

And like a gilded shroud,
In my tousled hair, to the whim
Of the wind, I will abandon myself.

The past happinesses will shine
Their soft glimmer on my brow;
And the green reeds will entangle me
And my shivering breast will believe,
Under their caressing grip,
That it submits to the embrace of absence.