21 May Swerve
2 2 2 2 / 2 2 1 / timp 2 perc hp / str [12′] 2004.
Commissioner: Windsor New Music Festival
Funder: Ontario Arts Council
Premiere: The Windsor Symphony with conductor John Morris Russell, Capitol Theatre, Windsor, January 16, 2004.
Recording: The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with conductor Kenneth Young, Recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert FM, September 8, 2011.
Writing Swerve began as an exercise in reading. A poem caught my ear and lulled me with its rhythm: lilting and stalling, flowing and overflowing the bounds of the line. Just as there are an infinite number of readers, so are there infinite ways of reading a poem. I wanted to capture these subtle variations of interpretation. The words which constitute poetry can be simple and familiar, but new meanings jump out unexpectedly from one reading to the next. I imagined a piece of music which travelled with the reader: pressing forward, pausing, repeating, circling back…a process of rereading in which certain images start to resound, gaining clarity with each recurrence. Poetry doesn’t reveal itself on the first reading. It is not until we reach the end of the music that we begin to understand what captivates us.