Composer: Trevor Bača.
Forces: bass clarinet, violin, viola & cello.
Duration: 20 minutes.
Page 5 of Ikribu (2016) for bass clarinet, violin, viola & cello.
The following inscription, written by the composer, appears at the head of the score:
Ikribu were the songs sung in Assyria during nightlong vigils held as early as the 25th century BCE. During the course of the vigil participants read events of the future in the organs of animals slit open at the ceremony’s start. Marks visible on the surface of the liver — font of the body’s blood — answered questions of importance to the state. Models of sheep's livers excavated from palace compounds record the exact locations of the animals’ organs to be consulted by magicians. What is surprising is not that record of the liver-readers and their clients have come down to us. Nor is it surprising that intimations of the future read on the insides of animals informed the actions of individuals and decisions of the state. What is unexpected, at a remove of more than forty centuries, is that information in the service of statecraft arose to the nighttime accompaniment of song.