Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Joan Tower

Project Advisor 2

Luis Garcia-Renart

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Artist’s Statement

This trio was conceived in 2010, when I was visiting Australia. I was standing on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Its cool waves were gently brushing my feet. I had a sensation of the immense power of the element of water that never ends and never begins; I sensed the infinity. I felt the ocean was a universe of its own, with its stories and creatures; it was a deity, complete and entire. It was as if I was standing at a threshold to an unbelievably beautiful and mysterious world and I was grateful I could peep inside. What’s more, I knew the ocean was accepting me and inviting to enter. At that moment, the opening melody of the trio came to me as if it was the voice of a Goddess emerging from the endless waters of the ocean. I was inspired and spent the next few days writing a song. The lyrics were as follows:

Take a breath and dare to touch Touch the wind and touch the flame I stood on the threshold Don’t hesitate Enter Immerse your body in my waters I will take you as you are …

Then I knew the voice of the Goddess would be expressed more properly by the full, mellow sound of the cello and I decided to rearrange the song into a piano trio, where the piano would be the base, the element of water itself, the violin would reflect the games of light on the surface, the little waves and the gentle oceanic breathing, and the cello would carry the melody that the voice emerging from the ocean sang to me. That is the opening of the trio (p.1-3). However, this organization did not satisfy me long. Later on, the roles of the respective instruments have become mixed up. When triplets enter in the piano part (bar 24), I imagine we are getting further on the open ocean; here the violin assumes the melody and the cello responds by the accompaniment to the little white crests of the waves. Suddenly, clouds cover the sun and the piece goes into a darker and more melancholic part (p. 5), where cold and dark currents bubble and grow to resolve in a storm (p.7-8); that is when the violin takes on a more passionate role and the cello joins the piano to express the

restless movement of a rough sea. The calm, soothing voice of the Queen of Cups changes into cries and the laments peak in a descending chromatic phrases in the cello and glissandos in the piano (bar 64, 65). Then the drama calms down as suddenly as an ocean storm can pass and the released tension takes the trio into a part (p. 8-10) where I imagined a little boat rocking on an open sea under the clear skies, the air is fresh and the sun is shining again. The staccatos in the violin are the little playful waves to which the voice of the ocean responds in the cello and piano. The music is joyous and victorious now; the calm voice of the Goddess at the beginning becomes an ecstatic call of the powerful element; the darkness has passed and all creatures and energies are joining in a joyful celebration of life and its beauty. The high G in the violin completes this celebration and the whole piece disappears in the same way it appeared – with the calm, wise and all-knowing voice of the Goddess, the mistress of intuition, the Queen of Cups, who has given the name to the trio. The Queen of Cups is a counterpart to the Knight of Cups, a song I had composed earlier. Both compositions draw from the element of water and touch its fluid reflection of the unfathomable depths of our own being, whose archetypes are expressed in the tarot cards. While the Knight is troubled by the conflicting polarity of cosmic powers as they show in the earthly opposites of male and female, light and darkness, our wish to be good that fights with our destructive forces, or the loneliness that longs for love, the Queen has more peace and atonement. The conflicting forces can find harmony in the soothing element of Queen’s water, whose hidden depths may be as mysterious as our subconscious is. After all, some secrets may remain invisible and there still can be peace and joy. Such is the paradox of the watery principle, the life-giving element. A tiny spring appears out of nowhere, slowly grows and gains strength; a creek turns into rapids and white waters into a wide river and peacefully dissolves in the sea of the unknown it came from; in the sea – sometimes stormy on the surface but calm and mysterious deep down: a parable of human life; a concept as evasive and indescribable as music.

Distribution Options

Access restricted to On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.

Bard Off-campus Download

Bard College faculty, staff, and students can login from off-campus by clicking on the Off-campus Download button and entering their Bard username and password.