Kate Soper: Life's Work
Life’s Work is an exploration of an accumulation of years of intellectual study and abstract-art-making in the composer’s life, and whether those activities end up meaning anything when you look at them from a distance, or whether they are essentially meaningless, or whether the beauty of study and the pleasure of intellectual pursuit can be its own meaning. These thoughts occupied Soper’s mind during the two years of pandemic when artists were trying to survive while the world around them seemed to collapse.
The first movement, Prelude, presentes the the musical material and microtonal differentiation that permeates the rest of the piece. All of the even numbered “gameplay” movements were crafted using some statistical processes involving markov chains, with text from a version of the rules of the childhood game "Chutes and Ladders.” The odd numbered movements include text from the composer’s journals from the last 15 years, and the fifth movement, Gloss, serves as the centerpiece and cornerstone of the work with the first part working out the translation and meaning of a poem (by Virgil, from "The Georgics,") and the second part is an aria setting the poem.
This commission has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by the Mellon Foundation.