Commission & Awards:
Commissioned by the New York Virtuoso Singers
New York City, NY - November 29, 2015
Digital Score PDF: $19.95, Printed Scores: $129.95
hunger fragments is an assemblage of texts for sixteen solo voices that were initially stripped from the libretto for the multimedia opera Hunger by Darcie Dennigan and Jason Thorpe Buchanan. These texts have been woven together to create a new work, independent from the opera, that functions as an impression of its essence. The stripping away of narrative leaves only a bare and visceral refraction, alluding to themes of psychological deterioration, fragility, and fragmentation of self or multiplicity. Poet Darcie Dennigan writes: “After reading accounts of writers who nearly starved for their writing, like Knut Hamsun’s Hunger and Mavis Gallant’s “Hunger Diaries,” I became interested in the line between physical hunger endowing a kind of clarity of mind in a writer and physical hunger overtaking, muddying the mind. I, like this multi-threaded piece, am of approximately eighteen minds. Gertrude Stein is one. What am I doing but making a stage for language to improvise upon? Virginia Woolf is at least two others, one of them always untangling threads of consciousness, the other tangling them up again. But perhaps my other fifteen minds are occupied with living, with making money so that my family can eat, sleep, have warm coats, etc. The trope of the starving artist is well-known, but I wonder how good the work can be, and how it can be sustained over time, when one’s mind is overtaken by thoughts of where/how the next meal. I wonder if we are comfortable with this trope because it allows us to continue to undervalue creative work. How much my life would be worth to me if I did not have the space (i.e., the physical capacity; i.e., enough food) to question and play with the nature of consciousness?