Post-Madonna Prima Donna (2001) is a one-act opera, for which I wrote both the music and the libretto. The subject of the opera is language. This is reflected in the word play of the title, the content of the libretto, the conversational vernacular with which those ideas are discussed in the recitatives, and the "language" of tonality as it develops throughout the opera.
      One singer performs both the title role and an interlocutor in dialogue with that character. Like Thespis-who is credited with inventing the art of acting in ancient Greece by performing multiple characters that he distinguished by costume and mask changes-the "aural mask" of a vocoder defines the soprano's alternate character. And like Greek tragedy the chorus is an additional abstract character.
      When I composed this work I was more interested in opera as a form than as drama or spectacle. Consequently, I used the classical operatic forms of overture, recitative, aria and finale. However, I organized those units into a structure of nested palindromes embedded within an overarching palindrome in order to critically reexamine tradition through rigorous methodology. For example, the accompaniment of recitative 2 reiterates the accompaniment of recitative 1 backwards, while within each recitative every phrase is a palindromic rhythm.

      Odi et Amo (2006) is a cantata inspired by the love poems of the ancient Roman poet Catullus. These texts were the first autobiographic cycle of poems written about a love affair in the Western world. They begin with the blossoming of a romance with a woman who Catullus referred to only as "Lesbia" (a courtesan from Lesbos, possibly an allusion to Sappho). But soon their relationship sours and the poems delve into the many conflicting emotions surrounding their breakup.
      In the arias, I set his poems in their original Latin and for the recitatives I translated the same poems into English. My translations are gender neutral because I wanted the poems to be universal. Plus, with so many other fine translations of Catullus already available (most notably Louis Zukofsky's phonetic translations), I wanted to do something unique.
      I created a new type of recitative texture for this work: each recitative is harmonically static, with improvised ornamentation of pointillist notes over an unchanging ostinato. From the first to the last recitative there is a linear development from the primal sound of a drone toward greater harmonic sophistication. This is in contrast to the arias that are through-notated with teleological harmonic progressions. Also, to further accentuate the binary form of the work, the arias and recitatives alternate in tempos that are proportioned in a ratio of 2:3 to create a polyrhythmic relationship between the sections.

      Plastic Flowers (2001/2004) is a song cycle that I composed for my ensemble "Jason Cady & The Artificials." In both the music and the lyrics I explored themes of absence, negation, and the trajectory from art to artifice to artificiality. By "artificiality" I refer not only to synthetic timbres and a radical take on digital editing, but also to formalist approaches toward composition and a preference for beauty over truth.
      The form of the entire cycle is palindromic, though it is more casual than Post-Madonna Prima Donna. The tonal architecture is loosely: I, IV, V, IV, I. The axis of the cycle is the most complex of the songs.


PMPD and OEA were supported by a grant from the American Music Center




Post-Madonna Prima Donna

Jason Cady
Post-Madonna Prima Donna



Post-Madonna Prima Donna
1-5   9:33

Odi et Amo
6-16   23:03

Plastic Flowers
17-21   17:53




Post-Madonna Prima Donna


Odi Et Amo


Plastic Flower



on Post-Madonna Prima Donna
& Plastic Flowers:


Deanna Neil
Soprano

Sarah-Jane Ripa
Flute

Mary Halvorson
Guitar

Jessica Pavone
Bass Guitar, Violin, and Viola

Jason Cady
Synthesizers, Drums, Percussion, Guitar

Amy Cimini
Viola (P.M.P.D. only)

Clay Holley
Turntables (P.F. only)

Leah Paul, Sandflower Dyson
and Yassira Diggs

The Chorus of "The Artificials"




on Odi et Amo:

Erin Flannery
Soprano

Emily Manzo
Piano

Aaron Siegel
Vibraphone

Jason Cady
Synthesizer


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