C trumpet (and sleigh bells) and boy soprano (and bodhran) (6’). For Eddie Ludema and Ben Johnston.
from the Hávamál
This work was composed for the 2010 New Art/New Music installation, premiered alongside Caleb Weintraub’s eye-popping sculpture, “Prelude to a Beatdown.” Being somewhat of a zany person myself, I was immediately drawn to Weintraub’s intensely colored environment, which featured a hungry-looking hyena leading two ornately dressed warrior children through a craft-supply-apocalypse forest. To me, the ominous trio was marching past foliage of intensely colored puffballs, yarn and glitter en route to a village of terrified adults awaiting their inevitable annihilation.
Since the kids’ costumes, intricate and extravagant, reminded me of Norwegian folk-wear (or at least my memory of the paper cut-out ones that I had to use for a 6th grade social studies project), I sought out some text from the Hávamál (“Sayings of the high one“), an epic Norse poem from around 800 AD. I could imagine the children in the sculpture using these prophetic lines as some kind of Warrior’s Code. I pulled a passage and divided it into three movements: I. Death March, II. Listen and III. Farewell. Across all three movements, a sense of malignant pomp, distorted reality, and the brainwashed determination of a child soldier pervade.
Live performance by Ben Johnston (soprano) and Eddie Ludema (trumpet).