Armon is the closing section of a larger piece called Untitled: Interior, which was written to accompany a solo dance by Stephanie Nugent. Armon is the name for the plane tree in Hebrew, and the word also means “naked” or “peeling off.” The piece can be performed by as few as five individual singers, probably altos, or by a chorus doubling the five parts. There is no text, and you are free to use whatever syllables help you shape the music. I have purposely under-notated the phrasing and articulation to indicate that you are free to shape your own performance of the piece.
Armon could also be performed by a men’s chorus, (or even a mixed chorus (tenors and altos, say), if the singers are careful to match their timbres with one another,) and you can feel free to transpose the whole piece as necessary. Please transpose so the music falls in a low and even vulnerable register for the singers.
The piano part is optional.
There is an optional additional spoken part that can be narrated at the beginning of the piece. It is an excerpt of a translation of a prayer of the 8th century female Sufi mystic Rabi’a:
if I speak my love to you in fear of hell,
incinerate me in it;
if I speak my love to you in hope of heaven,
close it in my face.
But if I speak to you simply because you
exist, cease withholding
translated by franz wright
Armon is June 14th in my ongoing project A Book of Days.
Here is a score of the piece in pdf format. If you need a different transposition or layout, please contact me.
- Instrumentation: piano voice (singer) voice (speaker) choir
- Ensemble Size: 2-6 7-12 large ensemble
- Duration: <5 minutes
- Electronics: No Electronics
- Video: No
- Project(s): A Book of Days
- Year: 2004