ensemble version: soprano, ensemble and live audio media - 14 min.

duo version: soprano, percussion and fixed audio media - 14 min.

Written for the 2012 UCSD Pierrot Project, curated by Susan Narucki and Philippe Manoury

Program Notes:

Light from Outside is a re-presentation of shattered pieces of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem Die Erblindende (The Woman Going Blind). Rilke depicts his characters from the perspective of an outsider looking in upon them; the setting is a banal and gentle one: afternoon tea. Yet there is something wrong with one of the women at the table, and Rilke reveals slowly, through a series of sudden realizations (in collusion with the title of the poem), that she is going blind. I took this text, broke it, removed the narrator, and observed the way the internal components and characters could reveal different affects by changing perspectives, as if shining a light upon the stage from different angles, silhouetting one character while spotlighting another. The woman going blind and the others at the table each observe and relate upon the other, retaining Rilke’s words but shifting pronouns, or inverting certain adjectives. For instance, though the woman going blind moves slowly throughout the house from the perspective of the narrator, to her, the others move throughout the rooms of the house quickly and with an ease that she has lost. Rilke depicts this stricken woman as attaining a sort of grace despite her ailment, which I was extremely attracted to when I found this poem. Yet I was left wanting by that the way Rilke glosses over this truly horrible situation – impending blindness – without addressing the potential for danger, panic, and despair. The shattered remains of the poem allowed me to more thoroughly juxtapose the tragedy and transcendence of the situation.

Performance History:

World Premiere: April 21, 2012

Conrad Prebys Experimental Theater, University of California, San Diego

Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano, Rachel Beetz, piccolo, Sam Dunscombe, bass clarinet, Steven Lewis, piano, Travis Maril, violin, Jennifer Bewerse, cello, Jon Hepfer, conductor, Paul Hembree, computer

2nd Performance: April 8, 2013

Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, University of California, San Diego

Aurora Borealis Duo: Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano, Steve Solook, percussion

Mountain West Premiere: April 7, 2015

Bank of the West Music Series

Cheyenne Central High School, WY

Aurora Borealis Duo: Tiffany Du Mouchelle, soprano, Steve Solook, percussion