Thiefth is the first collaboration between poet Susan Howe and musician David Grubbs. The two were brought together when the Fondation Cartier in Paris proposed a collaborative performance. Grubbs had been an ardent reader of Howe's for more than a decade, and the opportunity to work with Howe's poetry and her voice immediately intrigued. In late 2003, the two set about to create performance versions of 'Thorow' and 'Melville's Marginalia,' two of Howe's longer poems. Drawing from the journals and letters of Sir William Johnson and Henry David Thoreau, 'Thorow' evokes the winter landscape around Lake George in upstate New York and the historical violence of our national identity. Howe and Grubbs engage the lake's icy surface as well as the voices that haunt the unseen world beneath. 'Melville's Marginalia' explores Herman Melville's notations in books he owned and loved -- marginalia in which he sometimes argued with the authors. Grubbs brings together a diverse collection of sound sources, referencing Charles Ives' Concord Sonata, Howe's splitting of words, melting snow, and flight patterns overhead. Grubbs began his efforts by recording Howe's reading of the poem and eliciting contributions from Swedish reed player Mats Gustafsson and Greek cellist Nikos Veliotis."
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