Kyle Vegter, Monday or Tuesday (2016) | World premiere, MusicNOW commission

Duration: 10 minutes
Instrumentation: clarinet, bass clarinet, cello, percussion and piano

Performed with Manual Cinema
Director: Julia Miller
Concept: Lizi Breit, Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter
Designers: Lizi Breit and Julia Miller

“I attain a different kind of beauty, achieve a symmetry by means of infinite discords, showing all the traces of the mind’s passage through the world; and achieve in the end, some kind of whole made of shimmering fragments.” — Virginia Woolf

The composer writes:
Monday or Tuesday is a meditation on the life and work of the celebrated English author Virginia Woolf. The piece’s central inspiration comes from a prose poem of the same name that was published in 1921 in a volume of short stories also called Monday or Tuesday. The book was largely overlooked and is but a small blip on what was a tremendously powerful literary career. However, Woolf cites it as a major stylistic turning point for her — through its creation, she happened upon her trademark stream of consciousness writing style. Written in an early, highly poetic version of that style, the poem weaves together imagery and color into a distinctly modern Cezanne-like tapestry. Assembled in sharp angles, vivid snapshots, reds, blues and blacks — the short story becomes a portrait of the writer awash in a tumultuous contemporary society that is in sharp contrast to a serene natural world.
Our Monday or Tuesday gets both its form and visual style from Woolf’s Monday or Tuesday, but the character we follow throughout is Woolf herself. The piece also draws inspiration from what was a tumultuous and tremendous life, full of literary achievement, powerful relationships, the English countryside, London smokestacks and bouts of manic depression.”

An excerpt from Monday or Tuesday (1921) by Virginia Woolf

Lazy and indifferent, shaking space easily from his wings, knowing his way, the heron passes over the church beneath the sky. White and distant, absorbed in itself, endlessly the sky covers and uncovers, moves and remains. A lake? Blot the shores of it out! A mountain? Oh, perfect — the sun gold on its slopes. Down that falls. Ferns then, or white feathers, for ever and ever —

Desiring truth, awaiting it, laboriously distilling a few words, for ever desiring — (a cry starts to the left, another to the right. Wheels strike divergently. Omnibuses conglomerate in conflict) — for ever desiring — (the clock asseverates with 12 distinct strokes that it is midday; light sheds gold scales; children swarm) — for ever desiring truth. Red is the dome; coins hang on the trees; smoke trails from the chimneys; bark, shout, cry “Iron for sale” — and truth?

Radiating to a point men’s feet and women’s feet, black or gold-encrusted — (This foggy weather—Sugar? No, thank you — The commonwealth of the future) — the firelight darting and making the room red, save for the black figures and their bright eyes, while outside a van discharges, Miss Thingummy drinks tea at her desk, and plate-glass preserves fur coats — Flaunted, leaf-light, drifting at corners, blown across the wheels, silver-splashed, home or not home, gathered, scattered, squandered in separate scales, swept up, down, torn, sunk, assembled — and truth?

Now to recollect by the fireside on the white square of marble. From ivory depths words rising shed their blackness, blossom and penetrate. Fallen the book; in the flame, in the smoke, in the momentary sparks — or now voyaging, the marble square pendant, minarets beneath and the Indian seas, while space rushes blue and stars glint — truth? content with closeness?

Lazy and indifferent the heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.