Something We Don't Talk About

2015 // 11'
for sinfonietta, rock band, and soprano
poems by Sarah Kay
premiered April 19, 2015, at The Boston Conservatory

Program Note:

Something We Don’t Talk About is a setting of two poems by Sarah Kay, entitled Something We Don’t Talk About, Part I and Part II. The piece begins with a recitation of the first poem over a slow-moving drone, continues into a long instrumental section, and ends with a setting of the second poem. The instrumental section carries the dramatic arc of the piece from the first poem to the second, while also bearing its own emotional weight.

In this piece, traditionally classical instruments combine with rock instruments in a dramatic setting: the result is a hybrid of my main musical interests. It is impossible to ignore the weight of tradition in all three of these genres, and I do not attempt to do so. Instead, idiomatic gestures from all three appear, interacting and recontextualizing themselves to create a new whole. The goal, as with most of my pieces, is the direct expression of emotion and the honest telling of an intensely personal story.


flute, oboe (dbl. English horn), clarinet, bassoon
2 horns, trumpet, trombone, tuba
percussion, drum set
piano, synthesizer
2 electric guitars
strings: 3332 (minimum)
contrabass (dbl. electric bass)