The Helpless Song Cycle – VI. Hedonism

(Completed November 15th, 2016. Premiered March 8th, 2017)

(3+picc, 3+cor ang., 3+bass, 3+contra – 4 3 3 1, timp, 2 perc., pno., 14/14/12/10/8 + solo sop., solo vc.)

“Hedonism” is the finale of the cycle and the first written for full orchestra. Hedonism looks at the pleasures humanity enjoys and the my discomforts with witnessing and desiring them. The piece starts out with a children’s game of Never Have I Ever. This game explores what the participants have done in their lives. Here, the game is explores the purity of the myself throughout landmarks leading up to the present. The piece then states the thesis: “They’re out there/Living while they’re young/I’m out here/Keeping myself young/I don’t know which is better/But I know my brain doesn’t think/What my heart believes.”
Throughout the piece, I feature the soprano voice and solo cello, the soprano embodying my thoughts and the cello functioning as a “back up vocalists” and a contrarian to the soprano.

Read more about The Helpless Song Cycle

Text

Never have I ever
Kissed someone
Never have I ever
Touched someone
Never have I ever
Loved someone
Never have I ever
Filthed someone
Never have I ever
Hurt someone
Never have I ever
Broke someone
Never have I ever
Used someone
Never have I ever
Lived my life

Understand the guilt
That flows through my veins

They’re out there
Living while they’re young
I’m out here
Keeping myself young
I don’t know which is better
But I know my brain doesn’t think
What my heart believes

I want to get drunk
And stay drunk
To keep myself sane
I want to eat
And eat
And never refrain

But I want to build my life

I want to sleep
Forever
And never feel pain

 

I want to touch
Touch

No, what do I want?
How do I know?

Fantasies of violence
Fill my soul
How can I permit myself
To those dark goals?

Ah! Why am I human?
I don’t wanna be human

They’re out there
Living while they’re young
I want to
Keep myself young
Shouldn’t I want to
Keep myself young?

“So what if you break a few hearts?
So what if you hurt someone?
So what if you smoke a few joints?
So what if you get too high?

So what if no one ever loves you?
Lost and forgotten among no one!
So what if you amount to nothing?
Lost in the gutters of history!

So what if you’re never happy?
So what if you’re never happy!”

Ah
Never will I ever
Live my life
So what?