COME HOME (IN A MILLION PIECES) (2014)

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“Come Home (in a million pieces)” was written for mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider and IlluminArts Miami in August 2014. The piece was inspired by two aspects of El Anatsui’s work that particularly move me: his commitment to rendering glittering, immense, repetitive large-scale objects from tiny pieces of one type of material (such as bottle caps or coins); and his use of small objects that come exclusively from his native Africa. The first time I saw his piece “Ink Stain,” which looks to me both like a map of some ancient country and a downpour of blue tears, I was bowled over by feelings of intense nostalgia for my own past, and the intensity of what it must be like to be so far from home so often.

My musical response to his work is a simple, emotional song—the “bits and pieces” and small building blocks that come from my own musical “home” in rock and pop music—processed through a series of shifting delay lines to build an increasingly complex texture made mainly out of the live vocals, with some necessary “bleed” from the accompanying synthesizers.

I am deeply honored that this song was premiered on September 12, 2014 at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach by mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider, who commissioned it specifically for performance alongside El Anatsui’s stunning large-scale works.