it began, a glowing

In keeping with Nebula Ensemble’s January 2021 concert theme of new beginnings and starting with a blank slate, it began, a glowing is a guided improvisation with a sung text constructed from the first few words of every book I’ve read in the past six months. In selecting these text fragments, I found it striking that their content was often inconsequential to the overall story, and that I had paid little attention to them when I first read the books. Yet for all their triviality, these fragments provided the launch point for the authors to begin crafting a complex narrative. The improvisatory roadmap the musicians follow to perform it began, a glowing is governed by this same idea: for each fragment of text, the musicians are given a trivial launch point in the form of a pitch, a collection of pitches, a particular register of their instrument, or a general instruction (e.g., “free improvisation”), and it is up to them to develop a meaningful narrative from that initial impetus.

It began
A glowing
In the middle
The house stood
Candlelight reflected
It was early
The unicorn
Having entered
On that day
Take the bad with the good
Our dragon
It seems
It began
A glowing