The Woman Where We Are Living (The Crossing)

“The Woman Where We Are Living” – Robert Maggio (b. , USA)

1. Die englischen Stimmen

2. The reaction of the pupils to light

3. Wie heißen Sie?

4. When she was brought from the isolation room (I will not be cut)

5. Wo wohnen Sie? (the woman where we are living)

6. When the doctor enters the room (make yourself comfortable)

7. Welche Frau?

8. She acts as if she were blind (myself in order)

9. When she dies, she was examined (here and everywhere, here and now)

The Crossing gives the world premiere of Robert Maggio’s “The Woman Where We Are Living” on the second concert of our sixth annual Month of Moderns Festival at The Icebox at Crane Arts on June 28th, 2014. This work was commissioned as part of The Crossing/Knight Foundation Composers Competition. Maggio writes of the work: On November 25th, 1901, a 51-year old woman named Auguste Deter was admitted to the Hospital for the Mentally Ill and Epileptics in Frankfurt, and was examined by German physician Alois Alzheimer. Deter’s initial symptoms included impaired memory, aphasia, disorientation, and psychosocial incompetence. Her condition gradually worsened, and she started losing other cognitive functions and experiencing hallucinations. Because of her age, Deter was diagnosed with presenile dementia; today, the diagnosis would be early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Deter died in April 1906, aged 55. The text of “The Woman Where We Are Living” is excerpted from Alzheimer’s journal entries in which he chronicles his observations of and conversations with Deter. The music explores the fluctuating states of Deter’s deteriorating mind. Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 premiered the same day Alzheimer and Deter first met. Its theme of spiritual transformation and meditation on the journey toward innocence serve as a point of departure for this score. “The Woman Where We Are Living” begins with a quotation from the final moments of Mahler’s Fourth: the voice of a child describing a pastoral vision of Heaven. The reverberant acoustics of the Icebox at the Crane Arts Center provide an ideal setting for a dramatic examination of the transformation of memory, identity, and space; just like the mind of Deter, the physical space of the Icebox, once an enormous concrete-block walk-in freezer, no longer functions as it used to – it has transformed into something new, a place in which we collaborate, create anew, and reflect on the past. “The Woman Where We Are Living” is dedicated to my mother.

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