Kyle Gann: The Stream (Admonitions)

For voice and percussion ensemble

Percussion: crotales (F#,G,A,B), vibraphone, triangle, wood block, large and small cymbals, large and small tam-tams, tenor drum, bass drum

I wrote this piece in April of 1987, totally forgot about it, and ran across it in my manuscripts 27 years later. The text is a fabulous paragraph from Thoreau's Journal for July 16, 1850. The piece needed some revision; in particular, the vocal line was too slow, and I had too timidly omitted too much of the text, so it was easy to speed up the vocal phrases and insert more of the text in the gaps that resulted. All percussion sounds should be allowed to ring.


Do a little more of that work which you have sometime confessed to be good... Do what you reprove yourself for not doing. Know that you are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with yourself without reason... [C]ultivate the tree which you have found to bear fruit in your soil. Regard not your past failures nor successes. All the past is equally a failure and a success... Have you not a pretty good thinking faculty...? Does not the stream still rise to its fountainhead in you? Go to the devil and come back again. Dispose of evil... Die, if you can. Depart... If you know of any risk to run, run it. If you don't know of any, enjoy confidence. Do not trouble yourself to be religious. You will never get a thank you for it... Do not entertain doubts if they are not agreeable to you. Send them to the tavern... Do not read the newspapers. Improve every opportunity to be melancholy. Be as melancholy as you can be, and note the result. Rejoice with fate... Do not engage to find things as you think they are. Do what nobody can do for you. Omit to do everything else.

Duration: 9 minutes

World premiere: Australian National University New Music Group, Alexander Hunter director, Jelena Mamic soprano, June 7, 2014 at the Larry Sitsky Recital Room, ANU School of Music, Canberra

- Kyle Gann

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