Friday, February 5, 2010

[ Howe set to music ]

Thiefth is a musical performance composed by David Grubbs in collaboration with Susan Howe and recorded in 2005. It consists of a reading, set to music, of "Thorow" and "Melville's Marginalia." It has just now been added to PennSound here.

Below is a photograph taken during the recording of this piece:

Susan Howe and David Grubbs, Thiefth (Blue Chopsticks BC15)

Thiefth is the first collaboration between poet Susan Howe and musician and composer David Grubbs. The two were brought together when the Fondation Cartier 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 of Sir William Johnson and Henry David Thoreau, “Thorow” both evokes the winter landscape that surrounds Lake George in upstate New York, and explores collisions and collusions of historical violence and national identity. “Thorow”
is an act of second seeing in which Howe and Grubbs engage the lake’s glittering, ice surface as well as the insistent voices that haunt an unseen world underneath.

“Melville’s Marginalia” is an approach to an elusive and allusive mind through Herman Melville’s own reading and the notations he made in some of the books he owned and loved. The collaging and mirror-imaging of words and sounds are concretions of verbal static, visual mediations on what can and cannot be said.

“Thorow” (15:08)
1. Introduction 2. Part One 3. Part Two 4. Part Three
Susan Howe: reader
Mats Gustafsson: baritone saxophone, fluteophone
Nikos Veliotis: cello
David Grubbs: computer

“Melville’s Marginalia” (19:46)
Susan Howe: reader
David Grubbs: piano, computer

Recorded by Ross Bonadonna at Wombat Recording Company, Brooklyn, with additional recording by Tim Iseler at Soma, Chicago, and Mats Gustafsson in Gustavsberg, Sweden. Mixed by DG at Black Faurest. Mastered by Doug Henderson at Micro-Moose.

© 2005 Susan Howe and David Grubbs. Published by Gastr Virgo Music (BMI), administered in Europe by Rough Trade, Ltd.

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