Performance by ONO - Ostrava New Orchestra; Irena Troupova, soprano, Ondrej Vrabec, conductor
Ostrava, Czech Republic
ONO - Ostrava New Orchestra
Irena Troupova, soprano
Ondrej Vrabec, conductor
The text of Then I Awoke Again comes from “The Wanderer”, an anonymous eleventh-century poem, considered among the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon age. It speaks of a world of harsh weather, decay and ruin and the steadfastness of heavenly comfort in the face of torment.
To set fragments from the text I turned to my own experience, translating recordings I have made of the wind into the work’s harmonies. Among the sources are winds from the ruins of Muhammad Tughlaq’s palace in Delhi; the desolation of the Turfan Depression; the Mintaka Pass in the high Karakorams, used by Silk Road traders; and the pilgrimage circuit of Xiahe, in Gansu province, China. In using my own wanderings to locations contemporary to the original text, I hope to enact the environment of the poem’s wanderer as well as lend a certain realism to her plight. By setting the poem in its original Anglo-Saxon, I hoped to emphasize the dislocation that affects any wanderer – traveller, pilgrim, or refugee, together with the tragedy of sharing loss with a listener who cannot understand.
Then I Awoke Again is part of ‘Appeal for Identification’, a large-scale music-theater work-in-progress that gives voice to Delhi’s nameless dead through translating the ambient sounds of the locations where their bodies were found.