no time ago



No. 86 in the 100 Poems project.

A setting of the eponymous poem by E. E. Cummings.

The score reads:

Performers: 1 man, 1 woman

Staging: facing each other

Wardrobe: black

Performance: all text sung in octaves; in rhythmic, dynamic, and otherwise unison; performers alternate each word as the leader; the leader choose the pitch on which a word is to be sung and does so simply by singing the word on this pitch; the other performer, the follower must sing this word on the octave (below: man; above: woman) without hesitation; it must appear that both performers always know what pitch is coming next; therefore, they should begin singing each word at nearly the exactly same time

Tempo: rehearsed to be as fast as possible while maintaining the illusion of a non-improvised piece; very short pauses between stanzas

Dynamics: each word will probably have a slight crescendo to it as the follower hears the pitch for the shortest instant before singing; this crescendo should be minimized to preserve the illusion that the work is fully composed

Anecdote: two people set off on a journey; each believes the other is leading; they say not a word to one another; where will they end up? and when will they realize the endlessness of their path?