Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say
for soprano and flute (piccolo, C flute, and bass flute)(2010-11)
|Text information||Text by Lydia Davis|
|Movements||I. Go Away|
II. Head, Heart
III. Getting to Know Your Body
|Premiere||February 19th, 2011; Tenri Concert Hall; Kate Soper, soprano; Erin Lesser, flute|
|Technical requirements||Two scores required for performance.|
Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say is the second movement of IPSA DIXIT, a six-movement chamber music theatre work for soprano, flute, violin, and percussion that explores the intersections of music, language, and meaning. It may be performed as part of the full work, as a standalone piece, or in an excerpt of the full work comprising any number of movements.
Click here to purchase the full score and complete performance materials for IPSA DIXIT – for individual movements, see "related works."
I wrote Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say out of a determination to test my limits as a vocalist and performer and an itch to make something out of Lydia Davis' fabulously quirky, slyly profound texts. Writing as a composer/performer opens up the pre-compositional realm to lots of useful improvisatory tangents and fresh timbral discoveries, and working closely with flutist Erin Lesser led to many happy surprises that eventually made their way into the final score. Lydia Davis' words suggested an unhinged virtuosity and idiosyncratic, multi-layered musical reading that took me from screwball comedy to paired musical gymnastics: the flute becomes a kind of Iron Man suit for the voice, amplifying it to new planes of expressivity, intensity, and insanity as the two players struggle, with a single addled brain, to navigate the treacherous labyrinth of simple logic.
- Kate Soper