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June (2012)

for solo voice with looper pedal | 8:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Lauren Rile Smith

Composed for Voice of this Generation and Network for New Music. For solo voice (any range) and looper pedal.

June was also used in the creation of the aerial dance theatre piece Break/Drift/Resist by Tangle Arts Movement for the 2013 Philadelphia FringeArts Festival.

"Best of all was Melissa Dunphy's "June." Baritone Brian Ming Chu's unaccompanied voice was electronically reprised in canonic counterpoint, growing into four or five voices playing leapfrog with one another. The first of the two songs explored Lauren Rile Smith's poem about the lethargy of summer heat with great poetic control, neatly scaling back the electronic activity when necessary but ultimately conveying, with considerable mastery, the delirium of congested thought patterns. More, please." [Philadelphia Inquirer]


* * *

June
by Lauren Rile Smith

#1
In the hot room surrounded by fans, touching
my dirty fingertips, sweating inside my shirt.
The house is a slow oven. I go shopping in my own past--
those well-worn handles, broken jars, alone with you.
Can you let me know, the sound that travels back.
And then I was in the hallway with the big empty cart,
its hollow boom that echoed with each roll. A perfect mess,
Why wouldn't you just say hunger? Why wouldn't you?

#2
I take the long way there. It's been a year and I've got
time in a pocket, fingerprint bruises,
deep breaths that make clouds. The running stops.
The rush of days don't care about your heart.
Where were we, with the sky ripening
at sunset, with the branches forming cages overhead?
Where were your words? Now, I am: soundless, happy,
another pin on the trestle, spoke on the wheel.

Artwork by Nimish Gogri


Performances

  • 24 Jan, 2015: Maureen Batt at St. Andrew's Church, Halifax, NS
  • 05 Sep, 2013 - 07 Sep, 2013: Jessica Lennick (recorded) and Tangle Movement Arts at Philadelphia Soundstages, PA
  • 05 Jul, 2013: Jessica Lennick (recorded) and Tangle Movement Arts at Dixon Place, NYC
  • 12 Oct, 2012: Brian Ming-Chu at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia