To Immortal Bloom was composed during June/July 2017 and is scored for soprano, vibraphone, cello and piano. The lyrics are drawn from poem XXI of Conrad Aiken’s Preludes for Memnon (1931), with the text edited by the composer. The obvious musical and numerical references, as well as a feeling of reverie in the concluding imagery, were the inspiration for the musical setting. The melodic and harmonic material is strictly derived from a matrix of four nine-tone scales that has been the basis for all of my music for the past twenty years.
Click to listen to a recording of To Immortal Bloom. (Andrea Ludwig, soprano; Allison Rich, cello; Bob Becker, vibraphone; Midori Koga, piano)
Inspired by Conrad Aiken’s poem “XXI” from his book Preludes for Memnon, “To Immortal Bloom” is a mixed chamber ensemble composed by Bob Becker during the summer of 2017. The musical and technical trials of the work will challenge performers due to some tricky passages both individually and as an ensemble.
Becker states that the musical and numerical references in the poem, combined with the imagery, were the inspiration for the piece. The melodic and harmonic material was taken from a matrix of four nine-note scales that Becker has used in his music for the past 20 years.
Texturally, the piece begins very heterophonically, with the rhyhtms of the vocal line being reflected in most of, if not all, the ensemble. As the piece develops, the parts move to a much more homophonic style. Performers will be challenged by a number of rhythms throughout the piece that will make interpretation a challenge. The vibraphonist in particular will have the demand of playing some difficult quintuplet passages against the rest of the group, so the performers’ sense of pulse will be key.
Overall this looks to be a piece that could work well as a chamber piece for a graduate recital or a professional engagement. By replacing the cello with marimba, this could even work well on a percussion ensemble concert featuring a guest vocalist.
-Brian Nozny, Percussive Notes, July 2019