Home. Away. Home, but something’s changed. Not a window pane is cracked, nor a speck of dust disturbed from when you left. Yet something is different. You are happy to see the broken light switch, the lopsided chair leg, to sleep in your own bed and eat from your own garden. But not as happy as you thought you’d be. Perhaps your memory, your desire to just go home, which propelled so much of your journey here, was distorted. As you realize this, the idealized remembrance unnoticeably decays into the anxious depression of nostalgia, an intangible specter which is the eventual destination of all happy moments.
However, this delusional dedication may also be a strength. I believe that home is the potent human will to search outside ourselves for that to which we can never really return. It is the bittersweet recollection of contentment, always sought and always unfulfilled, which motivates us to maintain an identity and purpose in the face of instability and meaninglessness. Though we may lose our homes over and over again- to cruelty or chance or time- we will never stop trying to find home, to create one wherever we go. Paradoxically, we seem to become cognizant of home only by journeying away from it. Only when we are without home do we realize the quiet thrum it leaves behind, the silent music of our subconscious, which I have attempted to depict here, among other thoughts, in two ways.
First, the spatialization of offstage musicians, encompassing the audience in localized yet indistinct sound. Second, the sharp or gradual perceptual flip of a motif from familiar to strange and vice versa, employed in a dialogue. These figures include wandering glissandi, metallic behind-the-bridge tones, eerie high partials, col legno or loosely pitched walking eighth notes moving at different rates, and, most distinctively, the melancholy wail of the thunder sheet.
Maya Miro Johnson ©2018
About This Program
The final program of Tapestry19 is an exploration of the idea of home, featuring a world premiere by SPCO Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Lembit Beecher, which uses samples of 47 interview recordings of Twin Cities community members sharing their reflections about what home means to them, along with newly commissioned poetry by University of Saint Thomas professor Chris Santiago. 14 year-old Felix Mendelssohn was coming into his own as a composer when he wrote twelve sinfonias to be performed at private salons organized by his parents in their Berlin residence. A similarly young and talented 17-year old, Utah-native Maya Miro Johnson reflects more directly on the idea of home through her adventurous sound palette in wherever you go, there you are — another SPCO commissioned work. The concert also includes the Miracle Symphony, one of a series of symphonies written by Joseph Haydn during an extended stay in his adopted home of London late in his life.
FREE LIVE STREAM ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24
Can’t make it to hear Reflections on Home in person? Watch a live stream of this program in our free online Concert Library on Sunday, February 24 at 2:00pm.
This performance is part of our Tapestry19 Festival, click here for more information.
Lembit Beecher is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Music Alive is a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA.
Say Home is made possible in part through the support of Jack and Linda Hoeschler and Fred and Gloria Sewell.