Were You at the Rock? (world premiere, LA Phil commission)
Length: c. 10 minutes
About this Piece
Were You at the Rock? is a set of variations on the Irish traditional tune “An Raibh tú ag an gCarraig?” by Eve Beglarian (b. 1958). “As I was imagining the piece, I was thinking about dolmens (megalithic burial mounds), and about a painting of a dolmen I inherited, which is now gradually disintegrating as it sits on a large rock on my land in Vermont,” she writes.
“I was also meditating on this text from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: ‘Michael Robartes remembers forgotten beauty and, when his arms wrap her round, he presses in his arms the loveliness which has long faded from the world. Not this.
Not at all. I desire to press in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world.’
“I have come to realize that embracing the future requires embracing the disintegration that the future invariably bestows on the present. This is not what Joyce’s protagonist meant at all, nor what I meant when I copied this excerpt into my commonplace book at age 17, but it is what I have come to understand as the fatal paradox of loving the future too much: by the time you get there, you yourself are fading.”