for 16 voices (SATB)(2014)
|Commission||Commissioned by Yale Choral Artists, Jeffrey Douma, director|
|Premiere||June 20, 2014; International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT; Yale Choral Artists • Jeffrey Douma, conductor|
|Technical requirements||Choral score set includes 8 copies of the soprano/alto part and 8 copies of the tenor/bass part.|
“The purpose of these untranslated and mystical utterances was to sidestep the Devil and to reach God directly.”
- Teju Cole, in an essay about Loquebantur Variis Linguis and the tradition of “speaking in tongues.”
“There is a gestalt that orders things together, and if you pull back further, there’s another order there; the things are arranged they are for some reason, it might not be a rational reason, but there is a reason.”
- David Byrne, regarding his album with Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues
I originally wrote Consent to be paired with a performance of the remarkably beautiful motet Loquebantur Variis Linguis by Thomas Tallis, in which the composer sets the text “the apostles spoke in different tongues.”
The above ideas — that to communicate with the holy spirit one had to bypass language entirely, that the structure and meaning of language is inextricably linked to the power structures and hierarchies that created it —set me on a journey to explore language that might have a duplicitous role in my own life.
The text for Consent is a juxtaposition of passages from five different sources: love letters I wrote in 2002, love letters my father wrote in 1962, the Catholic Rite of Marriage, the Traditional Jewish Ketubah (wedding contract), and text messages by high-school students Trent Mays and Lucas Herrington that were used as evidence in the infamous Stuebenville Rape Trial in 2013. I set these words in order to explore my personal relationship to gender inequality and our connection to language that justifies sexual violence.