Composer: Trevor Bača.
Forces: flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, cello.
Duration: 12 minutes.
Page 10 of Mon seul désir (2010) for flute, clarinet, violin & cello.
The following inscription, written by the composer, appears at the head of the score:
A short walk from Boulevard Saint-Germain, between Boulevard Saint-Michel and Rue Saint-Jacques, stands the Musée national du Moyen Âge. Established by Alexandre de Sommerard in 1843, the museum is installed in the ancient compound of the abbots of Cluny, built in 1334 in what is now the fifth of Paris's twenty arrondissements. The museum — known better as the Musée de Cluny — houses manuscripts, sculpture, room furnishings and other artifacts of the Gothic and early Renaissance, including a collection of tapestries and other fabrics.
Remarkable not least because of their size — most of a height greater than a grown man or woman, and, in many cases, of lengths greater than those of the rooms in which they hang — the tapestries in collection at Cluny delight in the depiction of other woven things — hosiery, gowns, drapery, pennants, banners, standards, flags — and, too, in the presentation of the people who wore and used them. Hunted and domestic animals, blossoms, jewels and the branches of trees find a place here, too, most spectacularly in the cycle of tapestries now known as la dame à la licorne — the lady and the unicorn — the products, according to Elisabeth Delahay, current director of the museum, of the workshop of the unknown Master of Paris at the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century.
Stand in the dark room at the heart of the Cluny where the tapestries of the lady and the unicorn now hang, illuminated — to best preserve the colors of late Medieval dye — with only the light of fiber-optic cables, and here is what you will see. You will see six tapestries of dimensions varying the each from the other, all rendered in vibrant reds, blues and greens, each comprised of a lady with a lion at her right and a unicorn at her left. You will see the unicorn wonder at its own image in a mirror and, elsewhere, a monkey stealing blossoms from a basket. You will see a lady in waiting and you will see her holding up fruits and flowers and jewelry in a box. In five of the tapestries you may chose to see an allegory of the senses, and, in the sixth, you will see the words Mon seul désir embroidered in silent, imposing letters atop the awning of an open tent — the only text here at all, text anchored at the center of a sea of blossoms and brocade. Later, you may find the colors set ablaze in that dark room burned into the eyes, or else the memory. And in those moments you may wonder at what could have been the meaning of the words.
World premiere given by Either/Or on 27 March 2010 at New York City's Tenri Cultural Institute with Margaret Lancaster (flute), Esther Noh (violin) and Alex Waterman (cello) all under the direction of Richard Carrick.
West coast premiere given by Rachel Beetz (flute), Ariana Lamon-Anderson (clarinets), Batya MacAdam-Somer (violin) and Ashley Walters (cello) all under the direction of Nicholas Deyoe on 10 November 2010 at the Black Box Theater on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.