The Dark Prophet (Edward Snowden's Lament) (2013)
string quintet (vln, vln, vla, cel, db bass), piano, electronic track, 8'
The Dark Prophet was written as my response to the overwhelming complexity of the issues surrounding privacy in the digital age, with the recent uncovering of data collection documents by the National Security Administration, released by Edward Snowden. It is an issue in which there is no clear-cut right or wrong, and no easy answers or solutions. I wanted to create an atmosphere that seemed as if a quiet, lonely prayer was being called out, underneath all the voices of the modern age.
The piece takes recordings from the Guardian’s “NSA Decoded” website and obscures them like streams of data; over time the “messages” are decoded and become more clear. Along with these messages are a Medieval-like lament and lachrimosa, quotations from Edward Snowden beeping in Morse Code, and rhythmically embedded messages calling out the names of political figures embroiled in this current issue.
Premiere performance: February 26, 2014, ATLAS Black Box Theatre, Boulder, CO.