for SSAATB chorus

commissioned by the Haverford College Choir
Tian Hui Ng, conductor
poem by Edgar Garcia

Program Note from Recalling Ariadne project:

“With cinematic expansiveness, Esmail takes us on a sweeping flight over the seas before the music coalesces into solidity on the rocky shores of Crete. With the introduction of male vocal sonority, we are enveloped by the “Hazy Corridors” of Esmail’s imagined labyrinth wherein resides the famed Minotaur. Edgar Garcia’s poetry here is a perfect complement to Esmail’s sense of drama. His Minotaur wears a “jacket of human skin”, in which he boils in heat and agitation, viscerally bristling at the crowd that has assembled to watch his inhumanity. On the other side, the audience gawks at his visage, the most obvious signifier of his bestiality. Even as we are still fixated by the Minotaur’s respiratory apparatus, Esmail and Garcia draw the two sides together, in contrary motion, to the animal-self that is common to us all.”


Asterion in the Tropics
Edgar Garcia, poet

Minerals of the Earth’s seas
Crystallized to rocks, islands, topographies
Coiled by crisp sprays;
This is the place
That the fringe-daughter of shadow embays
Warm day, warm day, warm days

Hazy the corridors of cloud forests
Where a man-bull boils
In a jacket of human skins, his nose-ring’s
Gold heats white at mid-day
When they arrive, torrid and torrential on his walls, tourists

To his translucent island,
The alloyed beast churning in the heat
Emboldening like embers
His bones through back-ways –- staggering
Onlookers amazed at his wide-shining sun-drunk nostril-pits
Their pain, the roiling abhorrence
Of his labyrinth,
Is the pain of being split from their beast

–Edgar Garcia

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