This is This is This is (2009-10)
for David Foster Wallace
[Duos with Piano II]


Writer David Wallace committed suicide in late 2008. In addition to the love and admiration I feel for his work, a number of other coincidences of biography and personal history had made me feel quite close to him, and his death was not only a shock, but also just an incredibly sad thing. For me and many of my friends, it seemed like confirmation of some of our darkest thoughts about… well, everything.

In his later writings, Wallace outlines the struggle for a type of consciousness, a moment-to-moment vigilance of mind that transforms the repetitious business of daily life into something sacred. He describes this kind of attention as both a path outward from habitual self-focused thought patterns,
and a stay against “the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing” that those patterns eventually produce.
In addition, his conviction that art should be both moral and practical, that “fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being,”
has become something of a guiding principle for me.

So- This is for David Foster Wallace. This is unison, concentration, and attention. This is extended repetition as a force against habit.
(“This is a Bronx-bound 2 express train.” ) This is the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
This is the connection between attention and ecstasy—

ecstasy of physical gesture, ecstasy of sound, ecstasy of repetition.


instrumentation: two alto saxophones in unison and prepared piano (also playable as a duo for one saxophonist and piano)
duration: 21'

full score