Starfish at Pescadero

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six songs on poems by Idris Anderson
for soprano, viola, harp, and percussion (2007)

Composer: Dennis Tobenski
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Description

Audio


Lisa Williamson, soprano; Barbara Wiggins, viola; Megan Sesma, harp; David West, percussion

Text

Idris Anderson : Starfish at Pescadero

Songs

1. I have not loved you
2. Cliffs and coves
3. And the hills
4. I’m being silly
5. I reach into a tidal pool
6. Down Pescadero Beach

Program Notes

The texts for this six-movement piece use sections from the poem sequence “Starfishat Pescadero” by San Francisco-based poet Idris Anderson, who I met while in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2007. The poem, on the surface, is a trip to the beach — little vignettes of a couple enjoying the day together. Underneath, it’s about the inexplicable sadness that can accompany even the happiest of times, and an inability to communicate our feeling to one another, partiuclarly to those we love most. This is encapuslated best in the opening and closing lines: “I have not loved you in all seasons, / only this one…” and “When I turn to look at you, it [the lighthouse at Pescadero Beach] is coldly / measuring the distances / between us.” Which is not to say that the couple isn’t in love or that they’re irreconcilably distant, but that love changes and evolves, that time will shape and cause us to rediscover our love, and that no matter how close we are to someone else, there will always something that separates us.

Description

Audio


Lisa Williamson, soprano; Barbara Wiggins, viola; Megan Sesma, harp; David West, percussion

Text

Idris Anderson : Starfish at Pescadero

Songs

1. I have not loved you
2. Cliffs and coves
3. And the hills
4. I’m being silly
5. I reach into a tidal pool
6. Down Pescadero Beach

Program Notes

The texts for this six-movement piece use sections from the poem sequence “Starfishat Pescadero” by San Francisco-based poet Idris Anderson, who I met while in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2007. The poem, on the surface, is a trip to the beach — little vignettes of a couple enjoying the day together. Underneath, it’s about the inexplicable sadness that can accompany even the happiest of times, and an inability to communicate our feeling to one another, partiuclarly to those we love most. This is encapuslated best in the opening and closing lines: “I have not loved you in all seasons, / only this one…” and “When I turn to look at you, it [the lighthouse at Pescadero Beach] is coldly / measuring the distances / between us.” Which is not to say that the couple isn’t in love or that they’re irreconcilably distant, but that love changes and evolves, that time will shape and cause us to rediscover our love, and that no matter how close we are to someone else, there will always something that separates us.

Dennis Tobenski (ASCAP)

Dennis Tobenski is a composer of acoustic new music, a vocalist, and a strong advocate for new music and for the interests of living composers.

Dennis’s Only Air, a 20-minute work for high voice and orchestra memorializing the gay teenagers who have taken their own lives in recent years, was commissioned by the Illinois State University Symphony Orchestra, and has been performed in a chamber version by The Secret Opera in New York and members of the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony.

In February 2016, he and pianist Marc Peloquin released their first album together, a disc of art songs by living American composers titled And He’ll Be Mine.

Dennis also hosts the Music Publishing Podcast and The Composer’s Guide to Doing Business: two music business-centered podcasts aimed at helping composers and performers to learn more about the practical aspects of their careers.

Dennis received his B.Mus. in Vocal Performance and Music Theory & Composition from Illinois State University, and his M.A. in Music Composition from The City College of New York.

His principal teachers have included David Del Tredici, Chester Biscardi, and David Feurzeig. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for Composers Now, and the Board of Directors of the KeyedUp MusicProject. Dennis lives in New York City with his husband Darien Scott Shulman and their cat Pistachio.

www.dennistobenski.com



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