Old Man with Turnip (vn, cl, pf)



This enigmatic, 4-movement work was first presented as a staged, theatre piece that involved an actor/dancer leaping and creeping across a stage animated with video projections. The music is full of dark humor and juxtaposes earthy, dance-like outbursts with haunting stillness. While the music is certainly captivating on its own, the composer would be happy to work with you in creating extra-musical elements if you are interested in augmenting your performance in this way. 13 minutes.

i.   mule
ii.  the offering
iii. /kyu/
iv. praise his holy name

*note: if you choose print option for purchase, your printed music will be prepared and shipped to you within 2 weeks of purchase.

When I was writing Old Man with Turnip, I created a sort of Existentialist allegory to accompany it. However, that story is not really the basis of this piece of music, it was merely a compositional device and serves as a tool for guiding the performers to a unified interpretation. The four movements of Old Man with Turnip are a study of the conflicting truths of existence. The depictions of the old man highlight that human experience is both sublime and banal. A grunt or a cry is both cosmic and insignificant. Acts of love or violence are intrinsically human yet, perhaps,  ultimately meaningless to the universe. The titular “old man” highlights these dichotomous coexistences: wisdom alongside bodily decay; penance with pride; pleasure with pain; transcendence with death. 

Technically, the music for this piece bounces around the entire history of time on Earth. There are prehistoric sounds of ancient animals, glimpses of extraterrestrial speech, subtle references to electronic hip-hop beats, and a parody of 1980’s praise bands.

What makes a man a beautiful piece of machinery? Is it because he can leap or sing or show his teeth in a wild grimace? In a black, empty, void of endless universe an old man performs an unimaginable miracle by lifting an eyebrow, or by brutally beating his work mule. Acts of love or violence are ultimately meaningless [in respect to] the universe. And yet a deep breath exhaled in meditation echoes across time connecting each person with a thread of life energy. 

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