Consent

ensemble 16 voices (SSSSAAAATTTTBBBB)
duration 7 minutes
written May 2014
commissioned by Yale Choral Artists (Jeffrey Douma, director)
premiere June 2014, Int'l Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT
publisher Project Schott New York
recording live performance below, album forthcoming from Cantaloupe Music
 


text culled by Ted Hearne, from the following sources:
love letters I wrote in 2006
love letters my father wrote in 1962

The Catholic Rite of Marriage
Traditional Jewish Ketubah (Wedding contract)

text messages by Trent Mays and Lucas Herrington, 
used as evidence in the Steubenville Rape Trial, 2013
 

note

"The purpose of these untranslated and mystical utterances was to sidestep the Devil and to reach God directly." 
- Teju Cole, in an essay about Loquebantur Variis Linguis and the
tradition of "speaking in tongues."

"There is a gestalt that orders things together, and if you pull back further, there's another order there; the things are arranged they are for some reason, it might not be a rational reason, but there is a reason."
- David Byrne, regarding his album with Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues

I originally wrote Consent to be paired with a performance of the remarkably beautiful motet Loquebantur Variis Linguis by Thomas Tallis, in which the composer sets the text "the apostles spoke in different tongues."

The above ideas — that to communicate with the holy spirit one had to bypass language entirely, that the structure and meaning of language is inextricably linked to the power structures and hierarchies that created it —set me on a journey to explore language that might have a duplicitous role in my own life.

The text for Consent is a juxtaposition of passages from five different sources: love letters I wrote in 2002, love letters my father wrote in 1962, the Catholic Rite of Marriage, the Traditional Jewish Ketubah (wedding contract), and text messages by high-school students Trent Mays and Lucas Herrington that were used as evidence in the infamous Stuebenville Rape Trial in 2013. I set these words in order to explore my personal relationship to gender inequality and our connection to language that justifies sexual violence.

 


text: 
i want you
i want to

i want you
i want to

i want you
i want to

I do.

I was thinking penetrating thoughts about you
It will be good, we can do it, and we need it.

                  It can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back.

I was thinking penetrating thoughts about you
It will be good, we can do it, and we need it
I miss you too, in a heart-aching kind of way.

                  All of it shall be mortgageable and bound as security - 
                  It can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back.

I do.
                                    I just took care of your daughter.

* * *

Declare your consent
The missing you hurts
You’ll be in it soon
What a way to feel
Who gives this woman

* * *

i want you
i want to

                  All of it shall be mortgageable - 
                                    I just took care of your daughter
                  and bound as security -
                                    she said you could take a picture

i want you
i want to

                                    I just took care of your daughter and made sure she was safe
                                    she was so in love with me that night
                  I ask you to state your intentions

                  All of it shall be mortgageable and bound as security -
                  it can be taken from me, even from the shirt on my back - 
                  during my lifetime and after this lifetime,
                  this day and forever.

                                    I just took care of your daughter and made sure she was safe
                                    she said you could take a picture
                                    she looks dead lmao

* * *
I do.

I was thinking penetrating thoughts about you
It will be good, we can do it, and we need it.
I miss you too, in a heart-aching kind of way
I’m really looking forward to adding to it

                  All of it can be mortgageable and bound as security - 
                  it can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back - 
                  during my lifetime and after this lifetime
                  this day and forever

                                    How have you been holding out on me with that picture for so long?
                                    she said you could take a picture
                                    oh i am looking at all my pictures of you

You don’t even want to know what I’m imagining you doing right now
she was so in love with me that night
                  Declare your consent before God

                                    I just took care of your daughter when she was drunk

* * *

                                    This original amount, I accept upon myself and my heirs after me - 
                                    It can be paid from the best part of my property and possessions
                                    that I own under all the heavens. 
                                    All of it shall be mortgageable and bound as security -
                                    it can be taken from me - even from the shirt on my back - 
                                    during my lifetime and after this lifetime - 
                                    from this day and forever.

                  even from the shirt on my back
                  she said you could take a picture
                  I refuse to get excited

                                    Will you accept children lovingly from God? 
                                    Declare your consent before God and the church.

I felt knowing what was right  
she looks dead lmao
i just took care of your daughter

but i also know we are equal to almost any…
she said you could take a picture

Who gives this woman?


WORKS

LARGE WORKS WITH VOICES

Coloring Book (2015, 30 min.)
vocal octet
The Source (2014, 65 min.)
7 instruments, 4 voices
Sound from the Bench (2014, 40 min.)
mixed choir with 2 electric guitars and percussion
Partition (2010, 20 min.)
mixed choir with full orchestra
Katrina Ballads (2007, 60 min.)
11 instruments, 5 voices


ORCHESTRA

Dispatches (2015, 18 min.)
large orchestra
Respirator (2015, 13 min.)
chamber orchestra
Stem (2013, 25 min.)
large orchestra
Law of Mosaics (2012, 30 min.)
string orchestra
First World (2012, 7 min.)
large chamber orchestra
Erasure Scherzo (2012, 6 min.)
large orchestra
Word for Word (2011, 10 min.)
large orchestra
Build a Room (2010, 20 min.)
concerto for trumpet and orchestra
Patriot (2007, 9 min.)
large orchestra


SOLO

DaVZ23BzMH0 (2016, 7 min.)
solo cello, with electronics
Parlor Diplomacy (2011, 20 min.)
solo piano
Nobody's (2010, 4 min.)
solo violin


CHAMBER MUSIC (2-5 instruments)

The Answer to the Question That Wings Ask (2016, 11 min.)
string quartet and narrator
Furtive Movements (2013, 14 min.)
cello and percussion
Interlude for Fingers (2013, 4 min.)
two vibraphones
Licorice Men (2011, 8 min.)
electric guitar quartet
Thaw (2009, 12 min.)
percussion quartet
Vessels (2008, 10 min.)
violin, viola, piano
Ghostspace (2009, 8 min.)
accordion, electric guitar, piano, drums
Crib Dweller (2007, 8 min.)
bass clarinet, trumpet, horn, trombone, elec. guitar
Warning Song (2006, 7 min.)
voice and cello, with electronics
23 (2005, 8 min.)
flute, horn, elec. guitar, piano, drums
One of Us, One of Them (2005, 8 min.)
piano and percussion
Forcefield (2004, 5 min.)
viola and vibraphone

CHAMBER MUSIC (6-13 instruments)

For the love of Charles Mingus (2016, 9 min.)
6 violins
Baby [an argument] (2016, 11 min.)
10 instruments
By-By Huey (2014, 10 min.)
6 instruments (vln, vc, fl, bcl, pno, perc)
"The Cage" Variations (2014, 20 min.)
6 instruments (fl, cl/bcl, vln, vc, pno, perc) with baritone solo
Crispy Gentlemen (2012, 15 min.)
7 instruments (fl/picc, cl/bcl, vln, vla, vc, pno, perc)
But I Voted for Shirley Chisholm (2012, 8 min.)
11 instruments, with electronics
Randos (2012, 8 min.)
7 instruments (L'Histoire septet)
Cutest Little Arbitrage (2011, 12 min.)
6 instruments (2 sax, trombone + rhythm section)
Is it Dirty (2010, 8 min.)
16 instruments with 2 singers
(alternate versions for 10 and 6 instruments)
Eyelid Margin (2009, 12 min.)
10 instruments (brass quintet + 5 double-reeds)
Snowball (2008, 6 min.)
8 instruments (bcl, tpt, tbn, vln, acc, egtr, pno, dr)
7 instruments (alt. version for L'Histoire septet)
Illuminating the Maze (2008, 15 min.)
6 instruments (tpt, hn, tbn, egtr, pno, dr)
Music from "Body Soldiers" (2008, 10 min.)
5 instruments with singer
Cordavi and Fig (2007, 8 min.)
13 instruments
Antiphon (2003, 8 min.)
9 instruments (3 cl, bcl, 3 tpt, tbn, pno)


CHORAL MUSIC

Coloring Book (2015, 30 min.)
Consent (2014, 7 min.)
Ripple (2012, 10 min.)
Privilege (2009, 14 min.)
Mass for St. Mary’s (2008, 10 min.)

Music for youth choir:
Room for Something (2011, 8 min.)
Away (2010, 6 min.)
Because (2006, 6 min.)
Murder on the Road in Alabama (2003, 6 min.)


SOLO VOICE

Intimacy and Resistance (2010, 5 min.)
voice and piano
Charleston Songbook (2008, 20 min.)
voice and piano w/ lead sheets
I Remember (2007, 8 min.)
for three sopranos, or one soprano w/ electronics
I Carry Your Heart (2007, 5 min.)
voice and piano


COLLABORATIVE WORKS

Hand Eye (2015)
New Dances for the League of David (2014) 
You're Causing Quite a Disturbance (2013)
R WE WHO R WE (2013)
Histories (2012)