The Ascendant
2012 and 2016 (31:15)
Text by Maria Zajkowski
8 voices, drum kit
Commissioned by Roomful of Teeth

Video: The Fence Is Gone from The Ascendant by Wally Gunn and Maria Zajkowski, performed by Roomful of Teeth at NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert, 2014.

The Ascendant (31:15)
The beginning and (05:00)
The fence is gone (04:45)
Through the night wave (05:00)
What we began (04:30)
Are we death (05:15)
Surviving death (06:45)

Program Notes
This group of songs is named after a collection of poetry by contemporary Australian poet Maria Zajkowski, and it is from this collection that all the text is drawn. I was attracted to Maria’s poetry because I found it so striking. Her work is spare, detached, taut with restraint, but spiked with devastating releases of feeling which can make your stomach drop, as if you are suddenly in freefall. And the poems stay with you; they have a way of getting under your skin and leaving you unsettled, haunted. With Maria’s very generous permission, I have set six of her poems as songs for eight voices and drum kit, especially for Roomful of Teeth.
– WG, 2014

Soprano, soprano, alto, alto, tenor, baritone, baritone, bass

drum kit

Roomful of Teeth
Cameron Beauchamp, bass
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
Martha Cluver, soprano
Eric Dudley, tenor
Estelí Gomez, soprano
Avery Griffin, baritone
Caroline Shaw, alto
Virginia Warnken, alto
Brad Wells, conductor and artistic director

Jason Treuting, drum kit

The Ascendant . Catalogue 108 . Copyright © 2012 and 2016 . Wally Gunn and Maria Zajkowski