flute, clarinet, 1 percussion, electronic soundscape, electric or amplified violin, 1 violin, viola, cello, bass – Duration: c. 30 minutes
About …to me from the earth…
…to me from the earth… was commissioned by CAM Raleigh in collaboration with New Music Raleigh and North Carolina Symphony for performance in artist Thomas Sayre’s exhibition “White Gold.” “White Gold” refers to the cotton industry in the American South and the artist’s respect and reverence for the land and the labor from which the cotton grows. …to me from the earth…was premiered by the North Carolina Symphony and New Music Raleigh with Soprano Aundi Marie Moore in four performances in November, 2016. The text is based on the poem “Mi Historia” by David Dominguez.
Political activist and writer Grayson Haver Currin describes the premiere performance as “an absorbing piece of slow-moving music that doubles as site-specific work and triples as political performance art.” Currin continues, “Sparr composed the thirty-one-minute …to me from the earth… after several visits with Sayre, where he would see early models of the installation and ask the artist about his upbringing and inspiration, his motivation and his memories.
The study shows. Like Sayre’s own pieces, which show the toil behind their production in every smear of tar or every heavy chunk of concrete, …to me from earth… is physical and slightly confrontational. Especially near the start, the tones are snarling, with abrasive slashes of violin digging into a sinister drone. At various points throughout, the musicians whisper the Soprano’s words beneath her, suggesting a platform of ghosts with pain and persecution that’s needed an outlet for centuries.”
The work is dedicated to the progress and improvement of the human condition.