ROUTINE SURPRISE (2020) - for soprano and piano
Premiere: Grusin Hall, University of Colorado Boulder School of Music, March 11th, 2020, for Pendulum New Music Series. Cover art by Mimi Harding.
Duration: ca. 11 min.
by Maggie Hinchliffe
Eyelids heavy, like the moon
concedes to morning air,
sliding into consciousness
and into childcare.
Eardrums on the radio
while navigating dawn,
each routinely wondering
the composer of the song.
Ah, he sighs, I’m rarely right,
so Bach will be my guess.
I will guess Bach every day
until I am correct.
Ears and eyes awaken
with surprise as they discover:
Bach is playing every morning
now and through October!
Afternoon of black and white (a usual routine),
with repetitious ivories the center of the scene.
Rarely resting, only for her father’s inquiry––
a dialogue of dinnertime and daily wondering.
Mozart Meatballs? he suggests, adding then,
Beethoven Bread? Concluding cleverly, of course, Chopin Casserole? he said.
Stunning——his ability to generate delight, routinely
adding color to a life of black and white.
Wild nights were I with thee,
enchanting tune and poetry;
arpeggiating, racing piano
conversing with the star soprano.
Swirling skirts, they dance offstage,
breathless on their escapade,
by lingering melodic lines.
soprano to accompanist:
I saw your father——second row,
Did you see his face aglow?
Genuinely in surprise
because she never realized
while worryingly harmonizing,
he routinely beamed.