Composer Sid Richardson (b. 1987) writes concert music that imbues modern idioms with emotional grit and cerebral wit. He has collaborated with artists such as Conrad Tao, Del Sol Quartet, The Da Capo Chamber Players, Alsarah & the Nubatones, Amarcord, and yMusic. His dissertation piece Red Wind sets the poetry of Nathaniel Mackey and features the poet himself along with soprano Mellissa Hughes and members of the New York-based ensemble Deviant Septet. Originally from Boston, Sid recently completed his doctorate in the Department of Music at Duke University. He holds degrees from Boston Conservatory, Duke University, and Tufts University. In 2017, the Academy of Arts & Letters awarded Sid a Charles Ives Scholarship.


there is no sleep so deep

PDF score

"there is no sleep so deep" takes its title from Samuel Beckett’s play Footfalls. The play consists primarily of an old woman obsessively pacing up and down the stage. M, the protagonist, stops occasionally to recount a monologue of her slow withdrawal from life, and of her anguished attempts at self-assertion. As the work progresses, she becomes increasingly more bent and more obscured in darkness, finally disappearing in the end. The script of Footfalls opens with M calling to her mother. When a voice offstage responds, M inquires if she was asleep. “Deep asleep. I heard you in my deep sleep. There is no sleep so deep I would not hear you there.” I found that beautiful exchange resonated deeply with me. "there is no sleep so deep" for piano engages with the text, imagery, and stage directions of Footfalls on various levels. The most evident parallels are in the textures: the driving sixteenth-note passages echo M’s obsessive footsteps, and the resonant repeated-note figures recall her counting to herself as she walks to and fro “one, two, three…” Harmonic and rhythmic ciphers derived from Beckett’s text operate beneath the surface of there is no sleep so deep, but essentially the motivation behind the music is my grief over the death of my grandmother, Constance Dubose Jones, who passed away at the age of ninety-five in 2015. This work is a tombeau for her and a reflection on my own emotional struggles with death and loss. --Performance by Conrad Tao--