for solo guitar
SMMP No. 121
"Guitarist Colin McAllister played the world premiere of Adam Greene’s 'Absence' with such beauty and tenderness that I and the whole room held our breath, not wanting its perfect spell to end. I will only say this: It should be played at every event in this weekend’s programs."
-Marcus Overton, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Jan. 5, 2018
Colin McAllister, solo guitar, January 4, 2018, The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla, California
Absence is a sort of compressed suite in three movements, a vague allusion to a common formal conceit in the standard guitar repertoire. Each movement has a binary form, although this is partially subverted by the use of codas and interludial material. The materials in this piece tend to limit or impede the instrument’s natural resonance. The broad aim here is to construe a sense of entropy, impermanence, and loss. The poetic environment for each movement is framed by the following textual fragments:
“Surely you see her now! – that Fiend from Hell! And on her head
look at the snakes, their mouths wide open, writhing for my blood!”
-Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris, ln. 286-8
A black stormcloud of pain shrouded Akhilleus, on his bowed head he scattered dust and ash in handfuls and befouled his beautiful face....
-Iliad, XVIII, p. 430
Ecuba trista, mesera e cattiva,
poscia che vide Polissena morta,
e del suo Polidoro in su la riva
del mar si fu la dolorosa accorta,
forsennata latrò sì come cane;
tanto il dolor la fé la mente torta.
-Inferno, Canto XXX (16-21)
Hecuba, wretched, a captive, after they killed
Polyxena with her there witnessing,
Saw her Polydorus washed ashore: the weight
Of sorrow drove her mad, her soul so wrung
She began barking like a dog. (trans. Robert Pinsky)