to Eckhart)


4,18-5,15 2020


Oboe, Trained Voices (2),   Cantor, Audience



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My goal in writing music is developing Harry Partch’s corporeality through the tradition of liturgical chant; thus I treat the music as a ritual in there is no observer: when one engages in a ritual, one plays a role in that ritual, e.g. in Catholic Liturgy, the faithful are not simply an audience, but engage with the celebrant as members of a single body. The tradition that I have oriented myself within, liturgical chant (in all its forms, catholic or orthodox), is, especially in the monastic context, totally inclusive and without a differentiation between performer and listener; therefore, my music represents the extreme catholicity of the monastery, and the audience of other composers becomes a performer of my music.

This piece acts as a structural example for the way in which the hierarchies of standard concert music might be reconciled. Take note that there are four groups representing the various spheres of specialization, layered as so: instrument, classically trained voice, solfeggio voice (i.e. chant), untrained voice; consequently, I deny the distance between the stage and the seat by drawing what would be the audience out of an observational state and placing them within a position in which they are to perform and interact with the musicians as equals.

The text, patched together from some words of advice from Meister Eckhart to his confratres, was chosen for the text not necessarily for a theological reason or an evangelical motive, but as his work, as is mine, is an attempt at expressing an univocal communion: all things are in one and from one, as it is in my Eleatic conception of musical experience as one thing (a waveform) with many qualities; therefore, the relationship between parts is Man (Cantor), his Intellect (Left-handed singers), God (Oboe), and the unified nature of this multiplicity in One (Right-handed singers).

Like Partch, I am a phonetic composer, and the musicality of intoning words is as important as word painting in expressing the text. Thus, I privilege two qualities of the word beyond its meaning: its rhythm—as to not possess phonetic qualities is to be without definite rhythm—and its pitch—as to possess a vowel is to possess a relative pitch height.

I view my musical language as a development of liturgical chant, specifically liturgical recitation; therefore, the qualities of the text apparent in its sound and meaning are primary, and aesthetic qualities are secondary; thus, among phonetic tones, freely composed lines, and their subsequent harmonies, I employ melodic formulae found in liturgical recitation, blending these disparate elements into one with many qualities.

Sean Patrick Ignatius Tartaglia

German text:
Dâ hât er aleine got und meinet aleine got und werdent im alliu dinc lûter got.
Alsô enmac disen menschen nieman gehindern, wan er enmeinet niht noch ensuochet niht noch ensmecket im nihtes dan got;
wan er wirt dem menschen in aller sîner meinunge geeiniget. Und alsô, als got kein manicvalticheit enmac zerströuwen,
alsô enmac disen menschen nihtes zerströuwen noch vermanicvaltigen, wan er ist einez in dem einen,
dâ alliu manicvalticheit einez ist und ein unvermanicvalticheit ist.
Der mensche ensol niht haben noch im lâzen genüegen mit einem gedâhten gote, wan, swenne der gedank vergât,
sô vergât ouch der got.

English text:
He has only God, thinks only of God, and all things are for him nothing but God.
Therefore no one can stop such a man, for he regards, seeks, and tastes nothing but God,
for God is united with that man in all his aims. And just as no multiplicity can scatter God,
so nothing can scatter or diversify that man, for he is one in the One,
where all multiplicity is one and is nonmultiplicity.
A man should not have, or be satisfied with, an imagined God, for then, when the idea vanishes,
God vanishes!