18 May Mother Hubbard
cl, perc, pf, vn, va, db [16′] 2004.
Funders: The Laidlaw Foundation and Ontario Arts Council
Premiere: FontanaMIX Ensemble with conductor Giorgio Magnanensi, Angelica Festival, Teatro San Leonardo, Bologna, Italy, May 23, 2004.
The march is connected with both military and alternative political gatherings. Trying to understand the form, I’ve been listening to Purcell’s Queen’s Funeral March, the conga playing of Québec Summit protestors and the strangely military snap of Old Mother Hubbard (performed by the US Air Force Band). Revisiting this nursery rhyme, I was struck by the revolutionary aspirations of the last verse:
The dame made a curtsey,
The dog made a bow;
The dame said, “Your servant,”
The dog said, “Bow, wow.”
In bringing together disparate sources of inspiration, I wanted to retain a sense of their independent directions. With the intensification of policing at protests, a march may become a labyrinth with groups encountering barricades and teargas, circling back and morphing into a many-headed creature whose aspirations are diverse and sometimes divergent. The reporting of such events is frequently rife with ommissions and silences.