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An interview with Kyle Gann
by Jeff Lunden for Vocal Area Network
Posted February 12, 2007

Kyle Gann's new choral work, my father moved through dooms of love, a setting of the E. E. Cummings poem of the same name, will receive its world premiere performance by The Dessoff Choirs, under the direction of James Bagwell, on March 10, 2007 at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. The piece will be featured on "Musicians Wrestle Everywhere," a concert of work by living composers, including James Bassi, Elliott Carter, William Duckworth and Phillip Rhodes. Jeff Lunden, a tenor with Dessoff and freelance radio reporter for NPR, traded e-mail with the composer to find out more about his new piece.

Jeff Lunden: How did you come to set this particular E. E. Cummings poem? What attracted you to the language and imagery?

Kyle Gann: I'm something of a fanatic about speech rhythms, and especially the rhythms of poetry. My mother says that when I was a toddler I would listen to her read poetry as long as she'd indulge me. I feel I can set any text whose words have a certain, indefinable rhythmic quality, and if they don't have it I can't do it. Cummings' poetry often has a wonderful rough, masculine, but regular rhythm to it:

obey says toc, submit says tic,
Eternity's a Five Year Plan:
if Joy with Pain shall hand in hock
who dares to call himself a man?

I loved the rhythm of "my father moved throu