Blueprints I

by Lisa Bielawa

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Candles low, I ply the dust of the road, The grit of destroyed tallow That toys in the candle smoke, The curfew bell has rung And from St. Anthony’s (Finder of lost articles) Down Golden Gate to the Ambassador Is a very short way At least I got to pray. Curfew, Too few Hours in the day. I will get home before the parabola Of red leaves the curling wick, Before I get sick. Before the red of a thousand Declining candles Which I have gathered in My mind’s eye To one dull pilot spiritualizes To smoke plume, Curfew, Too few Hours in the day. At least I got to pray. Curfew broken, Curfew remains. -Erik Ehn
My soul said to me: “I am sick.” I answered: “And I am sick.” “We may be well,” said my soul. “why are we not well?” “How may we be well?” I asked “We may throw away all our vanity and false pride,” said my soul. “We may take on a new life. We may learn to wait and to possess ourselves in patience. We may labor and overcome.” “We can do none of these things,” I cried. Have I not tried all of them some time in my short life? And have I not waited and wanted until you have become faint with pain? Have I not looked and longed? Dear soul. Why do you not resign yourself? Why can you not stay quiet and trouble yourself and me no more? Why are you always straining and reaching? There isn't anything for you. You are wearing yourself out.” My soul made answer: “I may strain and reach until only one worn nerve of me if left. And that one nerve may be scourged with whips and burned with fire. But I will keep one atom of faith. I may go bad, but I will keep one atom of faith in Love and in the Truth that is Love. I will keep one atom of faith.” – Mary MacLane, 19 years old, Butte, Montana, 1901
DOCTOR(S) Hello my name is - PRISONERS (simultaneously) Work, work We work. I guess we work Now DOCTOR(S) The ear is always open Sorting in sleep, Vulnerable As saintly empathy Stop Me PRISONERS (simultaneously) The clop of the hoof The drop of sweat Across The horse’s Neck Work DOCTOR(S) The ear, always folding open Falling Fallen open I want PRISONERS (simultaneously) Turtles of purpose Disaster, feathers Fallen blood Measures marred By flood. DOCTOR(S) I want to hear a voice too. Following, folding out the trick of you your ear! What’s that? Did I - No No PRISONERS (simultaneously) I guess we work now The clop of the hoof, the drop of sweat I guess we work We work DOCTOR(S) If there is a ___ Then there is a ____ By inference By association By rights of a secret simile Let me hear a voice too! Me! Oh, me! PRISONERS (simultaneously) I guess we work now We work In animal weathers. Ahhh Work, we work DOCTOR(S) Caroline? Caroline? Caroline?
O the ease of Apocalypse How we long for its release, In this age of generation God bends light to a shield against destruction No, our end, Genesis again This century. These many centuries O perfect generation. O Genesis, again. For superior exegesis Read Bible backwards - Our end in Genesis. - Erik Ehn


Composer Lisa Bielawa’s residency at The Stone (a performance initiative founded by John Zorn) in NYC was to take place the very week in March 2020 that the city went into coronavirus lockdown. All of the programs were rehearsed and ready, but the performances were not able to take place. In order to honor the commitment and artistry of these tremendous collaborators, Bielawa decided to offer a chance to share some of the performances that audiences would have heard that week in an album recorded entirely in the performers’ homes, with guidance from engineer Mick Rossi.

This first selection of ten works from the five-concert residency is comprised entirely of world premiere recordings. Most of the works are for solo instruments, although violinist-vocalist Rebecca Fischer achieves a duet with herself by singing and playing at the same time in One Atom of Faith, and baritone Gregory Purnhagen achieves a duet with himself by recording over a re-edited digital track taken from the TV opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, originally recorded and shot live at Alcatraz prison. The duet Synopsis #13: Thy Sting is Not So Sharp is recorded by mother-and-daughter team Rebecca Fischer and Oriana Hawley, sheltering in place together. The final track, Genesis Again, was recorded in a remote collaborative process by the three performers, incorporating improvised interludes between fully-scored sections. These group improvisations were each created in a different tag-team order, so that each performer had a chance both to lead and to follow.

The Stone residency was conceived as a magnifying glass on Bielawa's acclaimed large-scale projects, with performances of the intimate chamber-setting pieces she used to develop material for the larger works.


released August 14, 2020

Blueprints I
Music by Lisa Bielawa

with Lisa Bielawa (voice), Molly Morkoski (piano), Sarah Carrier (flute), Rebecca Fischer (violin and voice), Ashleé Miller (clarinet), Michael Atkinson (horn), Oriana Hawley (viola), Gregory Purnhagen (voice), Alex Sopp (flute)

Recorded April-May 2020 at the performers’ homes while sheltering in place
Produced by Lisa Bielawa and Mick Rossi
Edited by Lisa Bielawa
Mixed and mastered by Mick Rossi
Cover image by Alex Sopp

Special thanks: Andrea Christie


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Lisa Bielawa New York, New York

Lisa Bielawa is a Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. Bielawa’s work consistently incorporates community-making, including her made-for-TV-and-online opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser; Broadcast from Home, a large-scale interactive work in response to the coronavirus pandemic crisis; and music for public spaces in NYC, San Francisco, Berlin, Rome, and more. ... more

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