Palinody is a now rare word, derived from the Middle French word, palinodie. The Oxford English Dictionary defines palinody as: “An ode or song in which the author retracts a view or sentiment expressed in a former poem.” Here, the former “composition” refers to my 2008 piece entitled Wound Sky (i.e., past participle of the verb “to wind”), which was a work that I wrote just before coming to New York to start my residency at Columbia. “Whenever we hear sounds, we are changed. We are no longer the same after hearing certain sounds,” was the maxim that German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen once declared. As my life seems to have changed in these past two years, what I thought I aptly expressed two years ago no longer appeared valid to me. I found it necessary and inevitable, therefore, to destroy the work entirely. I took little of what was salvageable from my Wound Sky, disintegrated it into pieces, and I wrote a new piece over them. In this way, the original context of Wound Sky is lost. In this piece, the destruction of Wound Sky is not represented by the absence of the work, but rather by a collection of subconscious memories whose origins are obscure. However, in this present piece Palinody, the spectators ultimately assimilate those “nomadic” memories in their own terms. With the apparition of Palinody, the work Wound Sky is hereby withdrawn from my catalogue of works. Written in the autumn of 2010 for the musicians of the Wet Ink Ensemble, this piece is dedicated to them.
Performance History12/11/2010 WP
Wet Ink Ensemble
Yoshiaki Onishi, cond.
St. Peter's Church Chelsea, New York
Columbia Composers Concert