Selfish Houses on Blood Strange Roads

bassoon, vibraphone, piano, violin, viola, double bass
13 – 14 minutes
performed here by the League of the Unsound Sound


Selfish Houses on Blood Strange Roads was inspired by two stories from rural America, both taking place at some point in the late 19th – early 20th century: William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and the folk ballad The Wagoner’s Lad, as performed by Buell Kazee in the 1928 recording under his name. The choreography in my piece, both in the musical materials and of the performers in the concert hall, is an attempt to reflect the relationships between people in these stories, as well as their relationship to the land around them. Two quotes from Faulkner may help to illustrate this:

When He aims for something to be always a-moving, He makes it longways, like a road or a horse or a wagon, but when He aims for something to stay put, He makes it up-and-down ways, like a tree or a man.  – Anse Bundren

I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time. And when I would have to look at them day after day, each with his and her secret and selfish thought, and blood strange to each other and blood and strange to mine, and think that this seemed to be the only way I could get ready to stay dead, I would hate my father for having ever planted me.  – Addie Bundren

The piece was commissioned by the League of the Unsound Sound.

Selfish Houses on Blood Strange Roads


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