Album Notes


Inner Journey

New music by Jacques Bekaert, Thomas Buckner, William Duckworth, Somei Satoh and David Wessel


Leroy Jenkins, viola
Joseph Kubera, piano
J.D. Parran, bass clarinet
Stefani Starin, flute
David Wessel, synthesizer
The Orchestra of the SEM Ensemble, Petr Kotik, conductor

* * * * *

William Duckworth, Their Song

Their Song was written in the summer of 1991. For almost a year previously I searched for a text but found nothing appropriate. Finally, in June, I decided to create my own. I began by subjecting selected writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller and Gertrude Stein to chance operations, this producing phrases and sentences of from 1 to 64 words in length. These text fragments, 50 in all, were then edited and rearranged into 10 larger sections that, to my mind, reveal the multiple perspectives of an unknown couple whose post-modern love story emerges from the process. The “Good-by” tag, which appears in the first and last songs, is the final four lines from Thomas McGrath’s poem, “Gone Away Blues.” It, too, was discovered through chance operations.

—William Duckworth

Their Song





What Does He Do



A Sentence






She Says



Might It Be



Making A Spectacle



Time To Go



They Said



It Did Make A Difference


They lingered for a moment just below the stoop,
watching a moon that seemed full of snow.
The grass was cold and there was no mist and no dew.

To these two life had come quickly and gone,
leaving not bitterness, but pity;
not disillusion, but only pain.

He had a sentimental thought.
He would ask her.
She could not refuse this last request.
Surely it was not much to ask...

It was not the moment to ask her questions.
Nevertheless he persisted in his attitude.
Finally a compromise was reached.
He was in a dilemma.

Good-by, good-by, good-by,
Adios, Au'voir, so long
Sayonara, Dosvedanya, Ciao,
By-by, by-by, by-by.

What Does He Do
What does he do when he thinks.
Of it. With them.
Which fortunately makes no difference
as they mean to have it lost for them.
As much as they do clearly.
Which at once.
It was more necessary
just when they thought about it.
For themselves.
As they do prudently.

It is not which they knew when they could tell

Not all of it of which the would know more
Not where they could be left to have to do
Just what they liked as they might say
The one that comes and says
Who will have which she knew

A Sentence
A sentence is why they like places
He replaces it.
She replaces it.
She replaces the amount.

They place
and replace
and recorrect
their impressions.

They do not change.

They lingered for a moment just below the stoop,
watching a moon that seeemed full of snow
float out of the distance where the lake lay.

The grass was cold
and there was no mist and no dew.
After he left she would go in.
And close the shutters.

It was warm and sultry despite the breeze
that was blowing off the river.
She must have come out of a sound sleep
and only half realized
who was holding her in his arms.

In this eternity,
which has nothng to do
with time or space,
there are interludes
in which something like a thaw sets in.
The form of the self breaks down.

Did she say what she said she would?

She Says
She says she is really full of tenderness.
She says that a summer day can come in early spring.

And what is his reward.
His reward is the reward of ages.
She is that kind of wife.

Always sweet.
Always right.
Always welcome.
Always wife.

Always sweet.
Always right.
Always welcome
Always wife.

Might It Be
Might it be
while it is
not as it is
undid undone
to be theirs
awbile yet.

Not in their mistake
which is why
it is not after
or not further in at all
to their cause.

Making A Spectacle
Making a spectacle.
Drinking prepared water.
Laughing together.
She was like that.

Star spangled banner,
story of Savannah.
That’s the way she tells it.
She makes no mistakes.

The words were not a question —
They were an entire litany
of suspicion, accusation,
confirmation, and decision.

Time To Go
Time to go.
The streets were empty.
He starts walking homeward.
Not the slightest trace of fatigue.

He tries to fix it in his memory —
the way she cast her eyes,
the way she talked,
the way she threw her head back
the way her dress clung to her slender figure.

He goes through it all
piece by piece, moment by moment,
from the time she entered
and nodded.

They Said

They said that they were not deceived.
Her tears flowed damply on his neck.
Calmly he folded his arms around her.
She considered that she was being very fair.

But it was now too late.
He had angered Providence
by resisting too many temptations.

Nothing had changed, fundamentally,
except that what was
was more so now.

It Did Make A Difference

It did make a difference
That they knew
Now they know

Partly and partly this,
settled for them it was
settled for them

Partly for this
they parted it
and in question
it was in question

Good-by, good-by, good-by,
Adios, Au'voir, so long
Sayonara, Dosvedanya, Ciao,
By-by, by-by, by-by.


Thomas Buckner, Inner Journey (Improvisation for Gerald Oshita)

I began working on free improvisation in 1964 with David Wessel, but really got into it with Gerald Oshita in 1974. We would meet every morning, five days a week and improvise together for a few hours, developing new concepts and approaches. After a year of this, we gave a duo concert at the Creative Music Studios in Woodstock in a series directed by Roscoe Mitchell. After hearing our duo Roscoe said “let’s be a trio,” and we performed as the trio “Space” the next week and until Gerald’s untimely death at age 50 in 1991. Gerald was a great woodwind player, a pioneer in extended techniques, and an uncompromising musician with a unique approach to improvisation. He was also my dearest friend, and I dedicate this solo improvisation to him.

— Tom Buckner


Jacques Bekaert, A Distant Harmony

A Distant Harmony is a development of Song I, composed in 1987, which used only three instruments, including the human voice. Song I was based on the melodic and harmonic strusture of a popular song composed by prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.  A Distant Harmony takes the musical material further away from the initial song and makes no use of specific traditional Khmer music. Some structural elements of Song I have survived in A Distant Harmony, and, especially toward the end, there are direct quotes from the previous work. But the addition of a bass clarinet changes both the character and the general timbre of the piece. Since I have spent so much of the past ten years in Cambodia, I imagine that A Distant Harmony reflects some of the emotions, hopes and pains anyone approaching this tragic land must feel. If anything A Distant Harmony evokes some inner landscape, not a precise place or time.

— Jacques Bekaert


David Wessel, Situations I

Much of my interest in computer music performance has been focused on improvisation. Rather than working up fixed compositions, I am more concerned with constructing software-based situations that provoke and constrain a spontaneous dialogue among improvising performers. In this work, a variety of such situations are employed as settings for musical discourse. The computer element plays a role as a listening assistant, a composing assistant, and a performing assistant. Much effort has been made to make these roles highly interrelated, adaptable to the demands of the moment, and, above all, controllable.

— David Wessel


Somei Satoh, Burning Meditation

Kazuko Shiraishi, author of the poem Burning Meditation, is one of my favorite Japanese poets. I have composed another piece based on her poem Kami No Miuri (God Sells His Body), commissioned by the Relâche Ensemble. In Kazuko’s poems, eros, life and death are always congenitally united like Siamese twins. When Tom Buckner asked me to compose a work for him, I instantly made up my mind to use Kazuko’s Burning Meditation as the lyric, because my own meditation seems serene on the surface, yet burns vehemently like a flame in the depths of my soul. It can be compared to a toy top which appears to be still while spinning. Composed in August 1993, Burning Meditation is dedicated to Mr. Buckner.

— Somei Satoh

Burning Meditation

Poem: Kazuko Shiraishi
English translation: John Solt

I am a burning meditation
I hold a watery island inside
waterbirds and the full moon float up
I lend a home to Nile crocodiles
my mediation is usually not aqua blue
but red from desire
rising in their eyes
I feed the crocodiles a delicious sun
and put them to sleep
I live in a burning meditation
listening to waves lap the watery island


Their Song
Thomas Buckner, baritone; Joseph Kubera, piano
Produced by Nora Farrell and recorded by Tom Hamilton.

Inner Journey (Improvisation for Gerald Oshita)
Thomas Buckner, baritone
Produced and recorded by Tom Hamilton.

A Distant Harmony
Thomas Buckner, baritone; Stefani Starin, flute; J.D. Parran, bass clarinet; Leroy Jenkins, viola.
Produced by David Behrman and recorded by Tom Hamilton.

Situations I
Thomas Buckner, baritone; David Wessel, synthesiser
Produced by David Wessel, and recorded by Hector Perez and CNMAT in Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley.

Burning Meditation
Thomas Buckner, baritone; The Orchestra of the SEM Ensemble, Petr Kotik, conductor
Produced by Gregory Reave, recorded by Tom Hamilton, and edited by Foothill Digital Productions.

Executive Producer: Thomas Buckner, Mutable Music Productions
CD mastered by Foothill Digital Productions.
Recorded at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, with the Cello Recording System.

Cover photo: Zdenek Chrapek
Cover art: Terri Hanlon
Art Direction and Design: By Design

Copyright © 1991 Jacques Bekaert
Copyright © 1997 Thomas Buckner
Copyright © 1993 Monroe Street (ASCAP)
Copyright © 1993 Somei Satoh
Copyright © 1994 David Wessel (ASCAP)

Performance with Cecil Taylor, September 27, 1997, at the “Music of Extended Duration Festival,” Prague Castle.

© P 1998 Lovely Music, Ltd.

LCD 3023 [D] [D] [D]