Of Three Minds
Tony Arnold, Jacob Greenberg, Chris Arrell (live electronics)
Of Three Minds (2013) for soprano, piano, and computer Texts from Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbirds by Wallace Stevens (PD) Awarded the Ettelson Composer Prize in 2014 Of Three Minds, written for Tony Arnold and Jacob Greenberg, is a setting of five sections from Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird (1917). Inspired by Japanese haiku, each of the poem’s thirteen sections presents the image of a blackbird as the focal point for a concise study in vivid landscape and nuanced inflection. Scored for soprano, piano, and electronics, Of Three Minds enhances the traditional voice and piano duo with real-time computer-generated signal processing (distortion, echo, simulated Doppler effects, feedback) and prerecorded synthetic sounds modeled after spectral permutations of the sung voice. At times dominating the foreground and at other times adding subtle coloration, the electronics, like Stevens’ winged cynosure, serve to distinguish each song while unifying the cycle. I. I know noble accents II. I do not know which to prefer III. A man and a woman IV. Among twenty snowy mountains V. I was of three minds Premiere given by Tony Arnold and Jacob Greenberg with Chris Arrell (computer processing) at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA on April 2, 2013.