the pentecost series

The program:          

This series is intimately related to the BABEL series; in fact, these pieces function as a kind of obverse of the BABEL pieces. The central myth of Babel in the "Old Testament" is about Yahweh inflicting multiple languages on humanity as a punishment for its hubris, while the myth of Pentecost in the "New Testament" involves a person speaking in their own language, but nevertheless being heard in the individual native languages of all the listeners. Similarly, while my BABEL pieces tend to revel in the chaos of many different musical "languages" failing to unify, my pentecost works try to ultimate find some kind of unity despite the conflicting languages.

The titles are also both similar to, and yet somehow the opposite, of the BABEL pieces. Whereas the latter spell out the word "Babel" using a different script for each letter, the pentecost pieces are always titled "50" using a single (non-standard) numeric system. For example, the first piece was titled in the way ancient Egyptian's wrote the number 50, and the third was written using traditional Japanese numerals. The number 50 (or, actually, 50th) is the meaning of the ancient Greek word that became our "pentecost." It is a festival that occurs fifty days after Easter.

There is a sense in which there's some optimism to the program of these works, which is rare for me, both artistically and psychologically. Most of the time I feel like we can hardly communicate with each other even when we ostensibly are using the same language. Still, at least from a musical standpoint, it can be an interesting program to explore.

The structure:          

Pieces in this series:          

PortRait of the ArTist,**NYC2001
Solo Cello and Recorded Electronics
Summer '01

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Note: Unlike all of the other series except for BABELs, there is no indication of order in these titles. In fact, all of them have the exact same name, 50, and it is only the number system used to express it that differs.

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