biocompositiongraphic/ web


Five Blackbirds (2005) reflections on the poetry of Wallace Stevens
for two clarinets

for Stephanie Ratté

10:00 minutes

I have wanted to write something for my friend Stephanie Ratté since she suggested and performed in the quartet that became "Avaloketeshvara's Taxi." These pieces are very pictoral, inspired as they are by stanzas of Stevens' famous poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.