Duet Irae

by zyxonian

Here is a vocal improvisation based inspired by the Dies Irae theme with my friend, Stefan Martin.


Our duet exhibits sweet moments of dissonance with mild middle eastern/canto jondo inflections. Although our theme is medieval in origin, our improvisation uses counterpoint similar to the early Renaissance with Satie/Hindemithian harmonies.

The day before this recording the pastor from a St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ben McKelahan, joined me for a busking adventure. He droned his shruti box while I did my Hildegard von Bingen thing. He delighted in the odd magic of presenting antique church music in the contemporary hustle and bustle of a New York morning subway commute.

But is it odd? If there is one ritual that New Yorker’s practice with religious fervor, it is the commute to work. Throngs of commuters congregate on the platform and wait faithfully for the trains . Despite the crowds, New Yorker’s are unusually silent, riding together, shoulder to shoulder, in solitude. It is a morning meditation. And they do this daily, like monks who rise and greet the daybreak.