Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Erica Lindsay

Abstract/Artist's Statement

“Dark Prodigies”

A Human Born With a Pig’a Face, the Spontaneous Bleeding of the Statue of Athena

Senior Project submitted to

Division of Arts (Music)

Of Bard College


Joe Tisdall

Annandale-On-Hudson, New York

May 2013

Artists’s statement

Ever since I was a child I have loved music. I played flute and drums and then guitar and piano and bass. I’ve had the good fortune to study jazz arranging, composition and performance in my time at Bard with some wonderful professors. Last semester, my concert was focused around both my musical and political studies, with many many spoken and sung words that straddled between bebop and pop. This semester, I wanted to focus on the sounds. I have arranged four pieces for jazz horns, one samba for voice and rhythm section, and am performing one tango piece with two musicians who have opened my eyes to that whole genre of music. I think that now I can say I really did something, as opposed to nothing. These are the dichotomies my work explores. I am obsessed with Livy lately, and every other chapter has a description of wartime prodigies, or omens, that must be atoned for by sacrificial rite. For example, a cow wanders into the third story of a building and then jumps out the window once he sees how everybody reacts to him. Humans are born with pig’s faces. Statues begin to bleed and shift position of their own accord. I have written these pieces with a strong feeling for this occult superstition. One piece, William Wilson, is based on an Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name, in which a young boy meets another boy with exactly the same name and similar features who becomes his foil, and haunts him like an apparition the rest of his life, always appearing whenever he is committing grave sins and shaming him for it, driving him mad. The piece, then, is based off of two themes that interlock and recur. It is very deep. It is so deep, in fact, that my genius may be spent. I may not write anything ever again. Like Rimbaud, I will fade into history and seek my fortune in Africa. With Kurtz. Then I will go back in time, take the 100,000 dollars that my grandmother spent on my education here and travel the world world instead. This place is like kindergarten. If I never went to college I would be much more grown up right now. But now I am a man-child. I suppose I have no one to blame but myself for this, but this place is full of shit. Anyway I like jazz and I wrote jazz songs and I have to write this artist statement and I actually despise all artist statement’s, because they are an excuse to explain away utterly vapid work as very deep and considered. I hope no one actually reads this. If they are, then right now I want to say stop. No seriously, you have better things to do with your time. Put this away. You still haven’t put this away. What are you doing with your life? I just got an overpriced education, am about to get a diploma all in Latin that I can’t understand even though I took four years of it in high school, and can now feel superior to pretty much anyone if I want to. I really just want to play drums right now. I’m almost at the end of the 2-page requirement. But in all seriousness, I’m really grateful for all the teachers that have helped me grow as a musician and be able to write and arrange these songs. Peace, love, confusion to your enemies, and may Juvenas have mercy on your deformed children.

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