Works

Poem for Violin

2012 / For violin

Poem for Violin is a duet for sound and silence, for music and words. This piece may be performed by solo violin, but ideally there are two performers: the violinist and a “keyboardist,” not a pianist but a typist, who types the lines of the poem (below) into a laptop. These words are projected onto a screen behind the violinist; they appear, word by word, in real time as the “keyboardist” types them out.

In this piece, I imagine music and language examining one another from opposite sides of a transparent – yet solid – border, a kind of glass wall. The violin’s music keeps straining after language, seeking to become language. The poem, in turn, is addressed to music. Music and language are on parallel tracks – so close to one another, but they do not meet.

If a particular venue does not allow for projection, or if a second artist is not available to type the poem, violinists are welcome simply to perform the violin part as a solo piece.

 

"In this piece, I imagine music and language examining one another from opposite sides of a transparent – yet solid – border, a kind of glass wall."

Performance of the duet version requires a laptop, a projector, and a screen which should be hung behind and above the violinist. The text should be projected using PowerPoint or an equivalent program – though even better is a simple homemade program which allows the text to be visibly typed out letter by letter.

As each new line is projected, the previous lines should remain visible – so, for instance, at the beginning of the poem, the first slide should appear as follows:

The stars fling blinding

(…And the second slide should look like this:)

The stars fling blinding
flame, they hold our gaze, presence

…with the position of the first line remaining unchanged.

 

The poem’s text is below.

Poem for Violin
Matthew Aucoin

I.

The stars fling blinding
flame, they hold our gaze, presence
is where they fall
and when I say nowhere
I mean you’re not here:
steady you sailed
toward me for centuries,
the rays of our gazes
locked, but when
you reached me you
were a great open palm,
your greeting took longer
than life, now your face
will be always away:
now love is whose
moment of two bent arcs,
the long necks of the stars
straining to turn
unphased around
some dark matter

II.

And you are not
behind air’s wall
and the wind carries no
shine of you and where
we live air is not
and death would not be closer
and I love you, no atom
of us has found nature
no atom will
I am going to love you

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Listen to Poem for Violin, performed by violinist Keir GoGwilt at National Sawdust


Details

For violin
Category:Solo Works
Year Composed:2012
Duration:8 Minutes
Orchestration:violin; with optional typist or presentation software and projected text
Publisher:Associated Music Publishers Inc
Past Performances

03 MAR 2012
Poem for Violin – World Premiere
The Signet Society, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
Keir GoGwilt, violin
18 MAR 2012
Poem for Violin
The Harvard Club of New York
Keir GoGwilt, violin
07 & 08 MAR 2014
Poem for Violin
Peabody Essex Museum
Salem, MA
Keir GoGwilt, violin; Matthew Aucoin, piano
23 JUN 2015
Poem for Violin
Rockport Chamber Music Festival
Rockport, MA
10 DEC 2015
Poem for Violin
National Sawdust
Brooklyn, NY
Keir GoGwilt, violin
02 APR 2016
Poem for Violin
Danbury Music Center
Danbury, CT
Hannah Ji, violin
Reviewable Score