On Saturday & Sunday, Oct 5 & 6, Resonance will feature the world premiere of Portland composer Brandon Stewart’s “AlonE”, setting a Sara Teasdale poem that depicts depression and the contemplation of suicide. The following is Stewart’s program notes.
Sara Teasdale's “Alone” is a poem very close to my heart and has been ever since I first stumbled upon it during my undergraduate studies. It so simply, yet eloquently, put into words the emotional state in which I had been living for a very long time. When I first started working on the piece, my goal was to use it to show how prolific depression was and still is in our society – to take a step back from that misery and analyze it from a new and slightly more optimistic perspective; “We are not alone in our loneliness.”
But the more I lived with this poem, the more I realized that is not what “Alone” is about. It is about feeling alone in spite of all the evidence to the contrary - living with a void, both inside and out - feeling like only death would give me peace - feeling like nothing was keeping me here aside from some instinct to live. “Alone” is about a woman who succumbed to her illness at the age of 48. And so, these were the things I sought to convey in the finished piece.
I invite everyone reading this note to read Teasdale's words through that lens and to allow yourself to feel what she is describing for the duration of this piece. My hope is that visiting this darkness for seven minutes will give you a new perspective on what it might feel like to live there every day. — B. Stewart (2019)
Beautiful Minds, a concert performed by the region’s finest singers sharing musical stories about living with depression, anxiety, and trauma, will open on October 5th at 7:30pm with a second performance on October 6 at 4:00pm, both at Cerimon House in NE Portland. CLICK HERE for tickets.