Amy Beth Kirsten (b. 8/21/1972 in East St. Louis, Illinois) began composing late in life, having had her first composition lesson at the age of 30. Prior to this she studied piano performance and vocal jazz as an undergraduate and secretly composed when she was supposed to be practicing. Since then she has gone on to participate in some of the most coveted opportunities for young composers.
Notes from the Composer
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Little Falling Red
Performed by the Norfolk New Music Workshop
Lately I’ve been researching the history of The Little Red Riding Hood for an opera I’m composing. I’ve come across quite a number of versions of this well-known story. Many of the modern ones explore a more edgy and controversial relationship between Red and the Wolf.
For this project, the poets Elisa Gonzalez and Jordan Jacks thought that it might be interesting to incorporate their original poetry in the recounting of the fable.
The result is a composition in two parts. In our telling, the girl is not victimized by the big, bad wolf but instead has some part to play in the ill-fated and questionable nature of the relationship. And in Jordan’s text for the wolf, I was able to find some sympathy for this tortured beast, who will forever mourn his own terrifying and irremediable appetite. The excerpt here is Part One – The Girl.
lightgirl - and the interference of her human shadow
Performed by members of l'Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa
This piece for chamber orchestra includes a vocal element: the instrumentalists are asked to vocalize while playing. I have always been fascinated by the sound of multiple human voices speaking or whispering at once and thought that the phenomenon would provide an interesting musical timbre. I had a conceptual motivation for including these sounds as well. Lightgirl was inspired by the idea of a superhero made of light who desires to be human. The intermittent interruptions caused by her dark desires are manifested in the music as interruptions as well; I aimed to compose sounds of static, radio interference, and mumbled voices as a means to this end. The conflict between the melodious and the interruptive, and how this conflict is reconciled, is what lightgirl is all about.