So I said I am Ezra
and the wind whipped my throat
gaming for the sounds of my voice …

A. R. Ammons, 1955

Preface by Frederick Frahm

This collection of 15 keyboard works was inspired by selections from A. R. Ammons’ cycle of poems entitled Ommateum (1955). Ezra, the poet’s nomadic main character who moves through time and place, life and death, has long captured my imagination. The detached sense of curiosity with which he observes the world and the manner of its striving human occupants routinely saves him as he comes to witness true atrocity and grief. Yet each experience makes Ezra richer for it, he matures with wisdom, and his heart fills with wonder as his Terran journey unfolds unbound by time or embodiment.

These 15 sketches seek to capture the ‘affekt’ of the Ammons’ poems in a tonal frame . Occasionally, the poet’s narrative pattern guides the structural form, but this music is more about subtext and as such an abstract resonance between emotion and sound is sought out.

Josef Albers once said, ” … unlike a painting where all elements can be seen at once, music exists in time from before to now to later … “. As such, listeners need to hear the progression of tonal events within these individual movements as they are gathered together over time and, through their juxtaposition and symmetry, assembled into a structural form of dialog.

Silence within music, used here as a form of punctuation to articulate architecture, allows for breath in the midst of cognition. Imagine the orderly and carefully observed physical space between choristers as they process from one end of a cathedral to another. By not breaching the requisite fore and aft proximities, their uncluttered appearance is stately and reassuring. Likewise, as you perform this music, relish and attend to both the sound and silence you create.

Registration at the organ is left to the performer, but with the strong encouragement to make creative and colorful use of any given stop-list. Performers fortunate to have an instrument at their disposal which is tuned in a historic temperament will find additional riches herein.

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