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Back in My OLD Stompin’ Grounds

April 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm UTC

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Hila is singing with New York City Opera this week, so I’m trying to get some work done during the day. Today I hoofed it over to Juilliard and found my way up to a practice room; I haven’t been in one since I graduated 13 years ago.

And nothing has changed. It’s still the same 7×7 room, beat-up piano, musty blue curtains, paper-thin walls. I really missed it.

I’m working on the LSO and Chorus commission, “Songs of Immortality.” Today was the third movement, a poem by Emily Dickinson:

After Great Pain

After great pain, a formal feeling comes —
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs —
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round —
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought —
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone —

This is the Hour of Lead —
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow —
First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go —

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)