THEIR THOUGHT AND BACK AGAIN

"THEIR THOUGHT & BACK AGAIN is the kind of collection of songs that one could imagine Charles Ive's composing had he lived long enough to encounter rock-and-roll and beat poetry ... Roth's songs are fleeting glimpses of America at the end of the 20th century: weird, intense, sentimental and, in spite of everything, rather beautiful."  
Stephen Nunns - American Theatre Magazine

To download

the libretto of

THEIR THOUGHT,

click here.

THEIR THOUGHT & BACK AGAIN (1993-8)

my chamber opera, libretto derived from

Burroughs-style cut-ups, for two singers,

six dancers, string quartet, and piano,

was the result of a collaboration with choreographer John Malashock.  The CD, featuring Roxane Carrasco and Celeste

Tavera, was recorded by Peter Sprague.

 

Two women, singing in a language of their own invention, 

arrive in an interesting town inhabited by dancers.  

They seek their places in the community, 

make new acquaintances, tell stories, reminisce, 

dream, and dispense advice.  

​Finally, after a time,

they settle down there themselves.

 

 

SYNOPSIS​ and NOTES:

 

 

      1. In Fourteen Hundred Ninety You

           (Took Him to the River)
      2. Seeking a Woman to Bird Dream Car
      3. Arthur Awoke to the Present Day
      4. Their Thought and Back Again
      5. Interlude
      6. Do the Dance of Television/Zero (finale)

 

 

 

      More info on cut-ups as used by David Bowie HERE, gratias & RIP 

 

THEIR THOUGHT

AND BACK AGAIN

is available here:

 

1 - In Fourteen Hundred Ninety You (Took Him To the River)

2 - Seeking a Woman To Bird Dream Car​

3 - Arthur Awoke to the Present Day

4 - Their Thought and Back Again​

5 - Interlude

6 - Do the Dance of Television/Zero (the finale)

from AMERICAN THEATRE MAGAZINE:

BURROUGHS and CUT-UPS:

William Burroughs used his cut-ups technique to,

among other things, redefine and develop syntax in
his novels.  He believed in and developed his
technique as much as John Cage believed in and
developed the use of chance in his music.  Both of
these techniques have influenced me, certainly in
THEIR THOUGHT AND BACK AGAIN.

 

By chance (as it were), in 1988 I was music director

for Howard Brookner's film BLOODHOUNDS OF

BROADWAY.  I coached and directed, among others,

Tony Azito, Anita Morris, and especially Madonna

and Jennifer Grey, duetting on "I Surrender Dear." 

Howard gave me a copy of his great documentary 

BURROUGHS (1983) as a gift - the first film about

Burroughs, and Burroughs made a cameo as a butler 

in BLOODHOUNDS, too.  I thought of Burroughs and 

Howard when John Malashock and I developed THEIR 

THOUGHT AND BACK AGAIN.  Looking for a method to 

write a libretto that could work abstractly, re-defining 

syntax and context, akin to music and dance, cut-ups 

were an ideal and in some cases, beautiful solution.  

As Burroughs says, "Every particle of this universe

contains the whole of the universe - well, you yourself

have the whole of the universe, I cut you up in a certain

way, I cut up the universe. If you have a prerecorded

universe, the only thing that is not pre-recorded are the

pre-recordings themselves, so with my cut-ups I was

attempting to tamper with the basic pre-recordings,

and I think I have succeeded, to a certain extent."



Here's Burroughs, below, with Allan Ginsburg, on a New

York roof top, alluding to Wittgenstein - a short

clip from and for Howard Brookner (1954-1989) - a gentle, generous, and talented soul who passed away before BLOODHOUNDS was finished - RIP.

Original cut-up for SEEKING A WOMAN TO BIRD DREAM CAR​