Letters To A Friend

Commissioned by Splinter Reeds
Premiered at Royce Gallery, April 17, 2017
Released on Hypothetical Islands, New Focus Recordings March 2019
See score excerpt*

This piece was written as a message to a departed friend, Alessia Pugliatti, who passed away on December 31, 2016 of a rare cancer known as EHE, or Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma. A self-proclaimed 'shy exhibitionist' hailing from Messina Sicily, Alessia was among many things a singer, an ardent fan of Brazilian culture, an organizer for the Portuguese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and a tireless advocate for African immigrants living in Venice. During the time I lived in Venice from 2001-2003, Alessia was a flatmate who took me in as a sister.

Letters To A Friend stems from the poem O Pulsar (1975) by Augusto de Campos, a founding father of the Brazilian concrete poetry movement (and also rendered beautifully in an austere and ritualistic song by Caetano Veloso). I translated the Portuguese text into Morse Code, creating a rhythmic structure from these patterns. The woodwind ensemble is in essence sounding out the poem letter by letter, transmitting my message to this dearly departed friend:

O pulsar
Onde quer que você esteja
Em Marte ou Eldorado
Abra a janela e veja
O pulsar quase mudo
Abraço de anos-luz
Que nenhum sol aquece
E o oco escuro esquece.

Wherever you are
On Mars or Eldorado
Open the window and see
The pulsar almost mute
Light-year embrace
That no sun warms
And the dark hollow forgets.

* for full score, please email: tree_wong@yahoo.com


Augusto de Campos (@poetamenos) on Instagram: "Partitura de 'Letters to a Friend' (2017) - Theresa Wong Inspirado no poema 'Pulsar' (1975) de Augusto de Campos”

David Wegehaupt performing Letters To A Friend,  photo by Donald Swearingen

David Wegehaupt performing Letters To A Friend,
photo by Donald Swearingen