Journey Towards Oblivion
Duration (in minutes): 10'39;
Difficulty: Medium (college/community)
Category: larger chamber ensembles - more than 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble
Instruments: any brass, any female voice, any high voice, any low voice, any male voice, any string, any voice, any woodwind, bass voice, cello, clarinet, contrabass, English horn, flute, horn, percussion, piccolo, soprano, tenor voice, viola
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
Description: “Journey Towards Oblivion” is written in memory of my teacher and friend - Vladimir Ussachevsky. The texts, by D. H Lawrence (sung by the tenor) and Christina Rosetti (sung by the soprano) were chosen as representative of Vladimir’s feelings during the last months of his life - his anger at dying (coming, as it did, when there was so much more that he wished to do) and his desire to be remembered. These two texts start out distinctly and then gradually merge.
The tenor part begins by emphasizing F. As the piece progresses, the emphasized pitches become lower and lower ending, finally, on A. This sinking, foreshadowed in the opening three measures of the piece, is reinforced instrumentally. The clarinet becomes bass clarinet, the percussionist moves from glockenspiel to xylophone to vibraphone to marimba and, finally, to timpani. And by the end of the work, the strings and English horn emphasize their lower registers.
The soprano, has a simpler, more naive part. She is accompanied first by the flute, then by the piccolo as the piece progresses and becomes more wistful in its expression of the desire to be remembered. The soprano part emphasizes the pitches E-F-E, used for the text “remember me”. The F-E motive ties in with the opening of the tenor. It is also reminiscent of the “sighing” motif of Baroque music, and also has a personal connotation since it is also used as a main motif in “Triskelion” - written by Vladimir for this composer and James Ostryniec.