Where You Love From

May 14th, 2022 (premiere)

for narrator, percussion, violin, viola, and cello

commissioned by The Michael Steinberg and Jorja Fleezanis Fund

available June 2022

14′

PROGRAM NOTE

I fall in love with the power of words all over again when I read Rumi (particularly this translation by Coleman Banks). The rich imagery makes my job a joy for the sounds almost jump off the page and into my mind to play around with. This particular text speaks to me because it naturally has “movements” or episodes. Though they seem rather disjointed at first, I wanted to weave them together with a musical narrative about the nature of love and how allowing yourself to love beyond expectation can be a means to freedom.

As someone who sees the ocean as an inspiring life force, the last section particularly strikes me as a meaningful metaphor for what our various relationships could potentially be and serves as a fitting climax to the piece. However, I chose to pose my own question to the audience via the narrator during the final moments of the work – “where do you love from”? Most days, I feel our society could be in a better place if we just asked ourselves that question more often.

Many thanks to Jorja Fleezanis for the opportunity to bring these sentiments into sound.

TEXT

Poetry by Rumi (1207-1273)
Translation by Coleman Banks from “The Book of Love” (used with permission)

TEXT OF ODE “WHERE YOU LOVE FROM”

Look inside and find where a person
loves from. That’s the reality,
not what they say.

Hypocrites
give attention to form, the right
and wrong ways of professing belief.
Grow instead in universal light.

When that revealed itself, God gave it
a thousand different names, the least
of those sweet-breathing names being,
the one who is not in need of anyone.

*****

You’ve so distracted me,
your absence fans my love.
Don’t ask how.

Then you come near.
“Do not…” I say, and
“Do not…”, you answer.

Don’t ask why
this delights me

*****

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest
where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.

*****

Drumsound rises on the air,
its throb, my heart.

A voice inside the beat says,
“I know you’re tired,
but come, this is the way.”

*****

Are you jealous of the ocean’s generosity?
Why would you refuse to give this love to anyone?

Fish don’t hold the sacred liquid in cups!
They swim the huge fluid freedom.