in 1985 the ithaca college choir began to work on a new piece that had been commissioned for us. it was weird, and modern- sounding, on a text that was famous, but not to us. it was called "Convergence of the Twain" and it was by Iain Hamilton.
we didn't think much of it at first, but as we began to understand it, we began to see its scope and awesomeness. i wish i had a recording of it for you to listen to, but i can't find one.
often, when we were working music with dense poetry as its text, larry would sit us down to discuss the poetry and its meaning, or meanings. we were free to create alternate meanings, if we could support them.
this particular text was opaque to us, couched in language of seventy years before, and we were not yet interested enough to look very deep.
hubris of youth.
and sitting on the risers, my friend janis shrugged her shoulders, thinking herself very, very funny (usually she was) and said "I think it's about the sinking of the titanic!"
and we all laughed.
until we looked carefully at the poem in that light. it wasn't so easy to see, hidden in the lines of music. but found the poem standing on its own, with its stanzas intact and its subtitle.
and we understood.
and the piece was AWESOME.