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No More


music by Jeff Kimmel
text by Ruth Lepson

This setting of "No More" was written for the improvising ensemble Boxcars to accompany Ruth Lepson reading the poem, and was first performed in Boston on August 3, 2007.

When I first read the poem, I was immediately struck by how Ruth had captured the varying sharp and pointed articulations in Steve Lacy's sound. Through a musical setting, I strove to further punctuate these sounds, include motifs and harmonies that appear in many of Lacy's compositions, as well as to further define the momentum in the poem. There is a general sense of pulse in the piece, but events in the music are triggered by phrases in the poem, indicated by arrows in the score.

Much of the last portion of the poem is designated as an improvisation space for the musicians. After some rehearsal, it was decided that the speaker could improvise as well, by varying the reading of the poem and repeating phrases. Through improvisation, the musicians' relationship to the speaker changes from accompanists to more equal collaborators, and provides a complete tribute to Steve Lacy as both a composer and improviser.

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