In Emptiness, Over Emptiness (1994)


  • 12
  • Soprano, Tape, Live Electronics


Score Excerpts

Sound Samples

  • Therese Costes – soprano

Program Notes

I wish
Plants in the fields
Could talk –
They must have tears!
They must have songs!

   Tekkan Yosano (1873-1935)

To hatch a crow, a black rainbow
Bent in emptiness
over emptiness
But flying

   Ted Hughes – Two Legends (1970-72)

This work was commissioned by the International Computer Music Association for their 1994 conference in Aarhus, Denmark. On that occasion the world premiere was given by soprano Therese Costes.

While existing as a separate concert piece, In Emptiness, Over Emptiness is also a part of a larger music theatre work, Madrugada. This larger work is based on texts by Patrick Friesen, and tells of the spiritual quest of an unnamed traveler, who over the course of the work has a series of symbolic encounters with wise yet enigmatic and challenging ciphers: a reader of cards, a rhyming savant, a mute healer, a barker of the carnival of life. Hovering over and moving through this world is an Old Woman, leader of the spirit/demons, a gatherer of bones, the animating spirit of human life. In In Emptiness, Over Emptiness, her opening song in Madrugada, the Old Woman sings awareness and language into the characters.

The tape part of In Emptiness, Over Emptiness was realized in my studio in Winnipeg. I would like to acknowledge the University of Manitoba Faculty Research Grant and Research Development Funds for their assistance in the acquisition of equipment.