Destroying the Teacher (2015)
(For Voice, Alto Flute, Oboe, Bass Clarinet, Viola, Cello, Double Bass)
Approximate duration: 12 minutes
MIDI recording. This piece has yet to be performed. This piece relies on lots of spoken text which is not adequately captured in the MIDI recording.
Suitable for any voice range, male or female.
Destroying the Teacher uses a variety of texts in a musical collage. The title is taken from the Walt Whitman poem, where he encourages his “students” to go beyond what he has accomplished. For me, the idea of destroying the teacher, refers to destroying the inner teacher, the voice in our heads, the ego, or perhaps our vanity, which believes we can ever truly take on the role of a teacher, as we are really only students in life. It also relates to the notion of destroying the perceived teacher / student duality, as many conscientious teachers will attest, it is the students who are teaching them!
Besides the Walt Whitman poem that opens the piece, you will hear the Mul (or Mool) Mantra, an ancient Sikh text of acknowledgement of the inner Guru, and later, the 7th Daily Communion from the Gospel of the Essenes, spoken by Jesus. The Spanish phrase translates to “May peace prevail on Earth”. The to-do list is my English translation from a portion of a song by the Colombian rock group Aterciopelados. The rest of the text is my own, though it’s not really poetry, but it fits the music and ties the other elements together somewhat. It may seem incohesive, but I feel it celebrates various aspects of life, from the sacred to the mundane, and the act of consciously embracing our own ego-death and spiritual re-birth.