In the Primal Garden
Instrumentation: High Voice and Piano
Duration: 10 minutes
Commissioned by: Jason Weisinger
Recorded by: Jason Weisinger and Robert McDonald
In the Primal Garden is a cycle of three songs commissioned by Jason Weisinger, Cincinnati-based tenor and graduate of the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
I was first referred to the poetry of Neil Aitken who, in “Planting Tulips,” beautifully paints an intimate scene that exists wholly in the present, bringing the darkness of the past into a hopeful place of reconciliation. While “Planting Tulips” is set as a lullaby, August Kleinzahler’s rhythmic poem, “Peaches in November,” speaks of incessant falling peaches to illustrate the unpredictability of events amidst life’s transitions.
As I spent more time with the words of these spectacular writers, I frequently found myself wandering back into Geoffrey Nutter’s figurative “primal garden” to reflect on a common theme expressed by all three poets—I was inspired by the passage of time by observing nature in each of these contexts, ultimately emerging from this “garden” back into the real world with a transformed perception of the daily cycle of death, as we have no choice but to put each day behind us, and rebirth, as we continue to grow as people.