It happens to all of us: you’re in some public space and overhear someone say something that strikes you as memorable, oddly poetical, or perhaps even moving. The American composer Lisa Bielawa and soprano Susan Narucki started collecting such overheard phrases, and created a musical work incorporating them.
Commenting on the phrases, Bielawa says, "I noticed … people often say things … that help locate themselves in space and time : 'Last time I ate here by myself’ or 'Remember – it was snowing horribly? And she was holding the dog?'” Or nostalgic phrases like “We used to have a house here, but then my father lost his job. I never go there now.”
The resulting composition for soprano and 12 instrumentalists, entitled “Chance Encounter,” was designed to be performed in a public spaces as well, with the performers arriving and leaving at different times and from different directions, taking up positions scattered around the site, with the soprano singing the overheard phrases as she strolls among them.
This unusual work received its premiere performance at Seward Park in New York City on today’s date in 2008. Since then, “Chance Encounter” has been performed in Rome on a walkway along the banks of the Tiber River, and in other public spaces in places ranging from Venice to Vancouver.
Music Played in Today's Program
Lisa Bielawa (b. 1968)Chance EncountersSusan Narucki, soprano; The KnightsOrange Mountain Music 7004