Good News
program note

"Good News" was written for the 2004 North Carolina Computer Music
Festival, organized by Rodney Waschka.  The theme of the Festival
was "music and text", and as I discussed with Rodney what to do
he described a fun science-fiction book written by one of his friends.
He sent me a copy of the book -- "Good News from Outer Space" by
John Kessel -- and I very much enjoyed the sense of
alienation/disconnection that forms a large part of the story.
After Rodney told me that the wonderful soprano Beth Griffith
would be participating in the Festival, I decided to use an excerpt
from Kessel's book that seemed particularly resonant to me:

	"A blustery wind buffeted George's face, bringing tears
	to his eyes.  There was weather after death.  Or maybe it
	was life.  Richard unlocked the Mercedes and held the door
	open for him.
		Lucy sat with George in the back seat and Richard drove.
	When they stopped at the booth at the end of the lot, George
	watched the young blond woman punch their ticket; he heard the
	time clock stutter out the printing on the back of the card.
	The girl had her hair pulled back in a pony tail; she gave
	Richard his change, but her "thank you" was drowned out by
	the roar of a tractor trailer from beyond the chain-link
	fence.  They pulled out of St. Anthony's lot and into the
	imitation world."

The soundscape of the piece roughly follows the time-trajectory
of Kessel's book -- I start by transforming Beth's voice from the
beginnings of a springtime swamp to a full-blown summer insect
symphony.  This gradually becomes a solitary winter chord, with
a hint of an (alienated) spring recurring at the end of the