Commissioned by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for the Erie Art Museum. World premiere: live acoustic instruments played by members of Relache, electronic score, and singer/narrator, Mary Beth Sederburg, Erie Art Museum
I. Overture/In Railway Halls
II. Find Your Way Home
III. Journeyman's Dream
IV. Passage to Parasomnia
VI. Time's Empyrean
VII. Potter's Field
Mary Beth Sederburg was the vocal soloist singing the roles of narrator and homeless characters in the world premiere performance. Subsequently, with producer/engineer Tom Weber, Albert Glinsky mixed the original electronic tape track with studio recordings of the live instrumentalists' parts and the vocal part, to create a completely recorded, electronic collage score. In this form, Day Walker became a dance work, premiered with choreography and costumes by Mark Santillano. Scenic and lighting design were by Michael Gleason. The dancers were Leah Bannier, Erica Denninger, Liz Nahser, Mark Santillano, and Heather Spencer.
Day Walker was inspired heavily by the composer's New York City roots. During the 1970s-80s homelessness was a prominent feature of the city, reflecting a neglected failure in our contemporary urban society. Musically, the work draws upon many resources: the integration of rock and jazz elements which characterizes Glinsky's work as a whole, an interest in electronic sound collage from the time he worked in the electronic music studios of New York University, and a long standing fascination with the music of such "concept rockers" as Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. In short, Day Walker attempts to join together "art song" and "art rock" in an amalgam which draws the deeper levels of psychological exploration from the one, and weds it to the spontaneity and directness of the other. Technically, the composing of Day Walker was a collaborative effort, much like the production of a rock album. Many long hours of studio work with samplers and MIDI equipment went hand-in-hand with the composing of the score for the voice and the acoustic instruments.
Dramatically, the work takes the following form: The first movement, In Railway Halls, is a long view of the homeless--an impersonal one; Find Your Way Home, begins to focus in closer, with a series of short case studies; Journeyman's Dream is a night in the life of a street wanderer; Passage to Parasomnia, the central movement, and turning point, is the passage over to insanity, as the sounds and images of the city bear down; Voices is an "inside" look at the workings of a disconnected mind attempting to make sense of imagined voices, and communicate back; Time's Empyrean represents the person, on the street, simultaneously panhandling, and, having given up on society, communing with characters of history--ultimately, wishing for a home in "the courts of the Lord"; Potter's Field is a series of epitaphs from a tombstone in Bronx, New York, at the sight of a mass grave for the indigent dead. The piece ends with a final word from the spirit of a homeless person.
All texts by Albert Glinsky © 1995 by Albert Glinsky, except, In Railway Halls, by Stephen Spender, from Collected Poems of Stephen Spender, copyright 1934 and renewed 1962 by Stephen Spender, used by permission of Random House, Inc.; various quotations from the Bible; and from a grave epitaph at Potter's Field, Bronx, NY.
Dance companies or choreographers wishing to set Day Walker, Night Wanderer should contact the composer directly for the recording and performing rights.