We lose things every day--cell phones, keys, old parts of ourselves we've outgrown. Sometimes we lose big things, but more often they are small. There needs to be a soundtrack for the little losses. That's STRONG SAD.
I asked seven incredible composers to write little elegies to those daily moments of loss, and I also wrote one myself. To help us move on, to help us grow, to help us be happy.
As a culture, we have become slaves to unexamined optimism. The greatest philosophers tell us how crucial it is to find ways to be thankful, experiencing the small joys within life every day. Yet it is not forced optimism and the mindless pursuit of pleasure that bring this satisfying contentment. We have lost track of ways to make sadness a part of our healthy emotional landscape. We hurry along, wishing to get from one positive experience to the next, and filling in our blank time with screens. We don’t want to be alone with ourselves. I am basically a happy individual, but have discovered that nurturing this emotional state requires me to spend quite a bit of my time being sad. Sad is such a negative word in our culture, it connotes a “loser,” itself a stigmatized word. We are losing things constantly, our loved ones, our lost opportunities, our present moments passed by. Yet it is often in our losses that our greatest selves emerge. Loser indeed! Why and what are we so afraid of losing? Truthfully, what may seem like weakness is what gives us extraordinary strength.
STRONG SAD is an album of newly-composed elegies for the viola. The elegy as a musical form has often found a home in the plaintive middle-register voice of the viola. The viola tugs at our core, and makes us aware of our inner landscape. On the STRONG SAD recording, instead of the big catastrophes, the viola will mourn the small, everyday losses. While some of these works may refer to lost friends and loved ones, this project will reaffirm that mourning is too important to save only for funerals, and that sadness, when given a chance to breathe, can be our best path to deep and lasting joy.
With your help, the STRONG SAD album will be released in June on National Sawdust Tracks. The digital version will have 8 tracks, each by a different composer:
Kurt Knecht and Jonah Sirota (Mondegreen): CURRENTly
Valgeir Sigur∂sson: Nebraska
Rodney Lister: Quodlibet
Jonah Sirota: When You Lose You Win
A.J. McCaffrey: Here Come The Waterworks
Paola Prestini: Vento e Sole
Robert Sirota: Elegy for a Lost World
Nico Muhly: Lean
The album also features guest performances by violist Nadia Sirota (Jonah's sister) as well as pianist Molly Morkoski.
Each one of these pieces was newly created for this project. Recording started in Lincoln, Nebraska in June of 2016, and was completed in Reykjavik, Iceland in November of 2017.
Your support will go towards paying these eight composers for their spectacular creations; for the performers on the album; for the recording, mixing, and mastering of the album; and for the final artwork and disc manufacturing. We can't wait to share this music with you.
Thank you for your love and for bringing this music to a world that needs it.
Risks and challenges
This project is very close to completion. The music is recorded and is in the production pipeline. More than two-thirds of the funding has been secured. The album is contracted for release on National Sawdust Tracks in June of 2018. Final funding for the composers and mixing and mastering is the final step, and you can help make this project come alive!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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