And They Sing This

Bb clarinet and electronics, also arranged for Oboe
8 minutes
Performed here by Ashley Smith


And They Sing This (version for Bb Clarinet)


And They Sing This uses two sets of samples that I recording in 2008/2009: one clip was recorded on my last day in India at Humayun’s Tomb, a 16thC. garden-tomb in Delhi (along the lines of the Taj Mahal). Unlike many similar places, this tomb was not commissioned by the male ruler, but by his wife. I was really struck by the fidelity of the natural environment on this recording, punctuated by the call to prayer in the background. The other sounds come from a series of conversations I taped with my great-uncle just before he died: the clips used in this piece feature my uncle describing a Polish wedding and singing a folk song. The lyrics, which he loosely translated as something along the lines of we come together in life and in returning to dust we’ll be together as well, expressed to me the lasting bonds of marriage, and in that sense connected them to the monument built by Humayun’s wife. The sonic qualities of both of these recordings – along with their subjects of life, death, and marriage – seemed to suggest a union of sorts with the tone of the acoustic instrument, and it’s multiple copies echoed out and layered by the delay.

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