Philip Blackburn

Music of Shadows

innova 250

1. DRY SPELL 26:57




1. Dry Spell (2011-13) 

Studio Z Chorus, homemade instruments (door harp, snake charmer, bowed psaltery, percussion), field recordings (St. Paul, Havana)

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, remembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.

          — T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

2. Still Points (2011)

Virtual Rhythmicon

At the still point of the turning world. 

Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; 

at the still point, there the dance is,

But neither arrest nor movement.

           — T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton II

3. The Long Day Closes (2013)

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, 

VAPA/The Sun Palace chorus and instrumentalists 

Bob Paredes, clarinet

After Handel’s Ombra mai fu (Xerxes, 1738):

“Never was a shade of any plant dearer and more lovely, 

or more sweet.”

Handel’s aria was the first piece of music to be broadcast on radio (from Fessendon’s tower at Brant Rock, Massachusetts in 1906 to passing ships accustomed to hearing only Morse Code). Those receding waves, ever more faint and distant, might still be discerned if we had but ears to reach that far. Bob Paredes, the eloquent clarinetist who died in 2005, appears here from beyond the grave playing my 1985 solo, Air. His absence and presence are felt equally in this call across the divide between there and here.

Dry Spell and Still Points form part of the Sewer Pipe Organ, commissioned in 2011 by Public Art St. Paul for playback inside storm drain systems.

The Long Day Closes originated as A Germ Requiem, part of The Sun Palace hyperopera and film, a tribute to Cragmor Tuberculosis Sanatorium (now UCCS), produced by Jane Rigler with VAPA and community members.

Supported in part by a 2014 project grant from NewMusic USA

Mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form

Coproduced by Chris Campbell

Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn, director, design, producer

Chris Campbell, operations manager

Steve McPherson, publicist

Also by Philip Blackburn on innova:

Ghostly Psalms (246)

Habanera (204)

Requiem for a Requiem (244)

Henry and Mimi at the Y (120) 

Stuck (799)

P.P.S. (524)