Sun, Moon, and Talia (trombone, piano, fixed media)
score, parts, fixed media: stereo --CD, AIFF, MP3
written for: William Bootz, Mary Hellmann
Longleaf Catalog Number: 2123
Sun, Moon, and Talia, is based on Giambattista Basile's version of the Sleeping Beauty tale published in his popular the 17th century collection The Pentamerone. Italian fairy tales were among the earliest versions of such stories to be published in Europe. These old renditions were bawdy and sexually charged (and clearly not meant for children). In Basile's version (learned from women storytellers in the countryside near Naples), Beauty, known as Talia, falls into a death–like sleep when a splinter of flax is from a spinning wheel is embedded under her fingernail. Her father, the Lord, is deeply distraught and leaves her to sleep alone in a house hidden deep within the forest. One day a King goes out hawking and discovers the sleeping maiden. Finding her beautiful, and unprotesting, he has sex with her — while Talia, oblivious to the King's ardent embraces, sleeps on. The King leaves the forest, returning not only to his castle but also to his barren wife. Nine months later a sleeping Talia gives birth to twins named Sun and Moon. One of the hungry infants, searching for his mother's breast, suckles her finger and pulls out the flax splinter. Freed of her curse by the removal of the splinter, Talia wakes up and discovers her children. After a time, the King goes back to the forest and finds Talia awake, tending to their son and daughter. Delighted, he brings them home to his estate — where his barren wife, naturally enough, is bitter and jealous. As soon as the King is off to battle, the wife orders her cook to murder Sun and Moon, and then prepare them as a feast for her unwitting husband. The kindhearted cook hides the children and substitutes goat in a dizzying variety of dishes. The wife then decides to murder Talia by burning her at the stake. As Talia undresses, each layer of her fine clothing shrieks out loud (in other versions, the bells sewn on her seven petticoats jingle). Eventually the King hears the sound and comes to Talia's rescue. The jealous wife is put to death, the cook reveals the children's hiding place, and the King and Talia are united in a proper marriage. Computer-generated sounds are featured in movements I and III. These sounds are created by reinventing the musical ideas played by the live performers. Often, the computer music follows and reacts to the live musicians. This work was written for William Bootz and Mary Hellmann. I. Talia, and the Spinning Wheel (•Talia, Sleeping Beauty, gets pricked by a splinter of flax from a spinning wheel. •later, as she slumbers, the King, out on a hunt, discovers her, and falls in love) II. The King, and the Queen (•the Queen hears of Talia and plots her jealous revenge) III. Talia, and the Fire (•the Queen plans to toss Talia in the fire as the bells toll •Talia remembers the King •the King searches for her) IV. Love, and the Resolution (•Talia, saved from the fire, and the King live happily ever after •The last line of the fairy tale--its moral--is as follows: "Lucky people, so 'tis said, He who has luck may go to bed, And bliss will rain upon his head.") Sun, Moon, and Talia was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University.