THE GUN WENT OFF

Soprano and violin (2001)


This early vocal piece was written for a master class with Lucy Shelton. The text is from Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Off Season” from his novel The Martian Chronicles. The violin and vocal lines are paired in a loose imitative framework, so that they delicately revolve around each other. Consonants are separated from their words and gain new meanings as separate musical sounds. The first performance was given by soprano Vivien Shotwell and violinist Alexandra Davis.


“In the sunlight, snow melts, crystals evaporate into a steam, into nothing. In the firelight, vapors dance and vanish. In the core of a volcano, fragile things burst and disappear. The girl, in the gunfire, in the heat, in the concussion, folded like a soft scarf, melted like a crystal figurine. What was left of her, ice, snowflake, smoke, blew away in the wind. The tiller seat was empty.”


- Ray Bradbury. “The Off Season”. Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec. 1948.


To download a sample page from the score, or listen to a recording, please see the links on the left.


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