Les Tropes sur les préoccupations mentale d’été (2000) for 3 voices and 2 inst.
In the music of the medieval period, Tropes were vocal compositions in which fragments of preexisting chant melodies were extended into new vocal works. The extention was necessary in order to accommodate large bodies of text of a similar or a completely new meaning. In Tropes…, I use this idea not musically, but more poetically. The fragments of poems by Desnos, Éluard, and Roubaut are set in two ways. The first is simple in which the text is presented in its original organization, where as in the second, I fracture further these fragments and then interweave them with the intent of imparting extended and more personal meanings. These two ways of text setting are exercised in sections that I designate as verses (original verse) and tropes (blended, or interwoven fragments). Musically, these verses and tropes are made manifest in changes of vocal texture. The vocal textures coexist with an instrumental environment obsessively preoccupied with the responsibility of both supporting and distorting the pitch and gestural behaviors of the voices. This idea of one being obsessively preoccupied (the instrumental behavior) with the meaning of words spoken, read, or overheard (the vocal behaviors) is played out here. By then end of the work, the instruments have in essence driven the voices to interweave the poems to such an extent that meaning of the individual poems blended, over extended, and even distorted.