I’d met Lydia in 2007, at the performance of my first performed lyrics, in The Falling of Trees, a collaboration featuring a song cycle written by my amazingly talented composer brother, Erik Nielsen (learn more at http://www.eriknielsenmusic.com), to accompany poetry written to commemorate and celebrate our oldest brother, Karl, a victim of cancer.
Lydia’s husband, Bob, was playing cello for The Falling of Trees.
But, I had to wait until a year later to see Lydia’s extraordinary musical gifts for the first time, with a performance of one of her pieces, for horn in the December holiday season. As a former medievalist and a poetical style heavily influenced by Anglo-Saxon, I thought I’d be a good lyricist on this sort of thing, and I told her so in an email.
I didn’t know if she’d even remember me, let alone think positively of a partnership, but to my great excitement, she did remember me, and she said she’d be “honored” to work with me on something in future.
Three months later, she told me about a piece based on a “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, an old Advent liturgical theme that she wanted to do something with…she ended the email with “you interested”?
As the enterprising and flamboyant wordsmith I am, I jumped at the opening, not only giving her four or five different texts, but even wrote skeletal plots based on each one of them. She had told me that even though the tradition of the piece was to “keep silence”, she wanted to subvert it to be an aid in speaking out.
I heard her loud and clear.
Six months later, we were meeting in Montpelier’s Capitol Grounds, and she tapped her finger on one of the texts, and one of the plots.
One Way in was born.
Next time: Baby Steps/Tapas
Lars lost his battle with