Peter V. Swendsen



Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is (2009)

for bass drum and live electronics
(for Jennifer Torrence)

In the mountains, wind and weather collide with land, each shaping the other in a sometimes subtle, sometimes violent pas de deux. Along the coast, this collision is more of a constant negotiation, the land and sea exchanging back and forth the clouds and temperatures that hover near the shoreline. In the flat interior, however, the wind and weather are themselves the instigators, the sculptors of an ephemeral topography of sound, texture, and sensation.

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wallace Stevens, 1921

[studio recording on Allusions to Seasons and Weather; performance materials available upon request]

© 2016 pvs