Today I received the finished score of "To a Stranger," a piece I commissioned from composer David T. Little. The commission was made possible by a very generous grant from the Walt Whitman Project (Greg Trupiano, Artistic Director) in Brooklyn, and pianist Tyson Deaton. It's a unique piece that, I think, captures the meaning of this poem.
The piece came with an interesting note from its composer saying,
In an odd way, this song is as much a stranger to me as the characters it discusses are toWhen I spoke with David this afternoon in a little Lincoln Center cafe in New York, we discussed how the piece captures a "subway moment" of one person seeing another and in an instant the thoughts expressed in the poem shoot through their head. I'll talk about this more when I discuss the poem in a few days, but that moment was very much on Little's mind while he composed. I think the music captures the formation of those thoughts and I can't wait to dive into it when I return to Knoxville.
each other. That is, I can’t say that it is recognizably my music, to the same extent that
another piece of mine would be. Still, as I was writing, I had a strange feeling that we
knew each other—this piece and I. That I knew what was to come next, though I didn’t
always know why; that the piece and I knew each other’s secrets, though it still felt slightly
foreign. Though this is nothing like I had ever experienced before, I suppose it’s fitting,
given Whitman’s words.
It's a rare treat to begin work on a piece of music days after its completion. I look forward to continuing the collaboration with David, Tyson and Carol!