The Tipping Point is explores the return of light. It is set in Raag Vibhas, a Hindustani raag that is characteristically performed at daybreak. Amy Fogerson’s text is rooted in the solstice (as metaphor for a larger social struggle between darkness and light) — exploring the return of light in yearly cycles.
And indeed, I was writing this piece both during the darkest time of the year, and through the darkest time of the pandemic. It is a mantra, designed to be sung over and over again, to somehow internalize that even in the darkest of times, light always returns.
(recording will be available after the premiere)
Special Performance Requirements
This work includes a tabla, a set of hand drums that form the backbone of Hindustani rhythmic practice. In this piece, I wanted the singers and the tabla player to do more than simply occupy the same space. I wanted them to hear one another, to give them a lens to look into each other’s worlds.
In certain sections, the singers sometimes sing in taal. They use bols (onomatopoeic syllables) from two typical Hindustani rhythmic cycles called Teentaal and Deepchandi. There are also solo parts that give a few singers a chance to try a characteristic Hindustani rendering of Raag Vibhas. very characteristically Hindustani.
In order for the singers to feel confident entering into this language, extensive audio guides are available at reenaesmail.com. More information for tabla players can be found here as well.
excerpt of poetry by Amy Fogerson*, interspersed with Hindi and tabla bols
Balanced on the razor’s edge between darkness and light.
Darkness exults in his hold on the world.
Yet we are arrived at the tipping point.
Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
Dha Tin Tin Ta
Ta Dhin Dhin Dha
Aaye savera (come, morning)
Aaye gyan (come, light/enlightenment)
And Light stands proudly, poised for her return.
She presses inexorably forward
In her journey to true north.
For light is life and
Light always returns
Dhi Na Dhi Dhi Na
Ti Na Dhi Dhi Na
Premiere will take place on July 30, 2021 with Santa Fe Desert Chorale; Joshua Habermann, conductor; Eric Phinney, tabla