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I have an obsession with the poetry of William Carlos Williams (1883-1963). In the spring of 2016, I was re-reading his Collected Works and was struck by a line in his poem “The Well Disciplined Bargeman”. The bargeman is carefully rowing over the murky water and then “under the Presence. Whatever there is else is moving.” Having plucked my title from WCW’s poem, I have attempted to capture that same sensation of attention being given to what is not in the foreground. The pitch material is fairly simple: steps going down. The goal is for the listener (and especially the performers) to notice what cannot be notated. This work can also be performed with an optional drone on concert E flat.
The work was premiered by Jeff Anderle, Kevin Tang, Sophie Huet and Dan Ferreira at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on October 16, 2017 at the concert “Centennial Concert: Guitar & Clarinet”
Kyle Hovatter San Francisco, Oct 2019