Wind Ensemble. (1994) 12′
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The title “Tears” comes from my reading of the novel Monnew by the African writer Ahmadou Kourouma. His story tells of the dissolution of traditional African culture as Europeans overran it. The native peoples were made to endure the “monnew” – the insults, outrages, contempts, and humiliations – of colonialism.
Our tears will not be abundant enough to make a river, nor our cries of pain sharp enough to extinguish fires.
Program Note (2009)
The title “Tears” came from reading the novel Monnew by the African writer Ahmadou Kourouma. His story tells of the destruction of a traditional African culture by European colonization. The native peoples were made to endure the “monnew”, the insults, outrages, trials, contempts, and humiliations of colonialism. My reading of the book was the external motivation for composing the piece, but I don’t know anyone in Africa directly. I have come to understand that fascination with something in the external world means that a thing deep inside me has been touched. So the piece is about something in me. Over the years my music has acted as a predictor for me. It gives me advance non-verbal messages about things inside me that I don’t understand yet: movements of my unconscious that are working their way towards the light.
Tears finally is about inner-transformation, and about groping toward the voice of praise. St. Francis and St. Ignatius have said that the proper function of the human race is to sing praise. Tears is about inner breaking, and coming to terms with the pain that hinders the voice of praise. Tears is about the movement toward the heart of love.