The End

for Flute, Clarinet in B♭, Violin, Cello, Piano (2012)

 

When considering setting Allen Ginsberg's The End to music there was only one image in my mind. That was that the image of a lost adult of the Beat generation sat at the piano playing jazz and reciting poetry. As strong as this image was in my mind and as strong as the poem itself is, I attempted to create a music that was neither minion nor master but lay somewhere between. The music is intended to be a stage on which the poem is able to perform however, like every good set, lighting and props will change and adapt in order to enhance the performance and fully represent the poem's meaning.

 

 

For me, the poem speaks of death, and the thoughts of a man who is confronted with death. This makes him think back over his time and consider death, but also birth and life. As the soul leaves the body we hear the rising, rushing figures in the music before arriving at an ethereal place. Using the ensemble players to recite the text instead of an actor or singer allows the text to be heard as if without a source, adding to the image of the ethereal, whilst creating an otherworldly sound. In this place we hear many others who have shared the same feelings and thoughts as our poet, our guide. These voices gradually die away before leaving us with the inevitable death of our poet.

 

Workshopped by the New Music Players

The End

 

I am I, old Father Fisheye that begat the ocean, the worm at my own ear, the serpent turning around a tree,

 

I sit in the mind of the oak and hide in the rose, I know if any wake up, none but my death,

 

come to me bodies, come to me prophecies, come all foreboding, come spirits and visions,

 

I receive all, I’ll die of cancer, I enter the coffin, forever, I close my eye, I disappear,

 

I fall on myself in winter snow, I roll in a great wheel through rain, I watch fuckers in convulsion,

 

car screech, furies groaning their basso music, memory fading in the brain, men imitating dogs,

 

I delight in a woman’s belly, youth stretching his breasts and thighs to sex, the cock sprung inward,

 

gassing its seed on the lips of Yin, the beasts dance in Siam, they sing opera in Moscow,

 

my boys yearn at dusk on stoops, I enter New York, I play my jazz on a Chicago Harpsichord,

 

Love that bore me I bear back to my Origin with no loss, I gloat over the vomiter

 

thrilled with my deathlessness, thrilled with this endlessness I dice and bury,

 

come Poet shut up eat my word, and taste my mouth in your

ear.

 

- Allen Ginsberg