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for variable ensemble or keyboard

duration ~ 6:20 minutes

Commissioned by the Blueridge Chamber Music Festival with support from the BC Arts Council


In May of 2023 I was approached by the Blueridge Chamber Music Festival to write a work based on themes of childhood. The idea was to create a work that was inspired by a story, poem, or nursery rhyme that resonated with me as a child. 

As I began work on this piece, I tried to think of "story" as an idea, and started wondering if part of every story I encountered as a child was somehow already inside of me, or if it was somehow being planted at the same moment I was experiencing it. 

I think of this often, when I am moved during a story's unfolding narrative, and how I experience it as a trick of time, a strange interaction between my memory and active present, both co-inhabiting my sense of now.

The sensation of remembering while simultaneously also experiencing something new happened to me first as a child while growing up and watching cartoons in Mexico City during the 80s. Although I was exposed to a wide range of children's stories from Mexican lore to practically everything in the Walt Disney catalogue, the shows that truly shaped my experience of narrative were Spanished-dubbed Japanese anime series. These shows were a mix of obscure and popular stories form European and American literature, like Cécile Aubry’s Belle and Sebastian, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Hector Malot’s Sans Familie, and Johan David Wyss’s The Swiss Family Robinson.

The long and complex narrative structures in these shows were sometimes developed over 52 half-hour episodes, and each of these series introduced me to distinctly dark subject matters—all contextualized through the visual ethos of 80s Japanese animation and through the linguistic idiosyncrasies of Castilian and Latin American Spanish. Despite never experiencing a lot of the things portrayed in these stories, as a child, I remember feeling like these stories were activating an inner reservoir of concepts and emotions. These imaginary worlds, filled with themes of friendship, isolation, abandonment, death, pain, and prejudice, felt like part of an internal vocabulary that was both being instilled and unearthed.

This composition is inspired by my first encounter with these stories, and by the experience of finding the new as also being intuited.

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