Welcome to our show!
You can navigate this digital libretto by scrolling, clicking the chapter titles below, or using the menu in the top right corner.
Notes from the Creators Overview Poems Music (Graphical Notation) Biographies Contact

OVERVIEW *Electronic sections in Reflections composed and recorded by Jon Hallstrom 1) Ballad of Maine

2) Shepherd in Transit

3) Reflections *

4) Prometheus in Manhattan

5) Icarus Lands

ON THE POEMS NOTES -MARIO MORONI The poems performed in this show have been written over a long period of time, but they all have been reworked and orchestrated for music and digital images with composer James Glasgow. BALLAD OF MAINE was originally inspired by the landscape of Maine, imagining a voice that evokes an imaginary house, and the presence of someone who has now disappeared. SHEPHERD IN TRANSIT is based on the canonical poem "Chant of the Wandering Shepherd of Asia" by Romantic Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi. In the original text, a shepherd reflects upon his life and his nomadic condition. I reworked and re-imagined the shepherd character as he is brutally projected in our contemporary world, going through tragic circumstances.

The three poems that constitute REFLECTIONS are devoted to three separate themes: "Journals" is concerned with space, "The Hour of Rest" is about seeking a moment of rest at the end of difficult times, "Reflections of Photography" is about time, as it may be experienced through the observation of a photograph, where the people portrayed in it seem to be looking to the future, and aiming to exit the photo's frame. PROMETHEUS IN MANHATTAN is just a short section of a longer poem where I reworked and reimagined the myth of Prometheus (as he was originally portrayed in Aeschylus' Greek tragedy "Prometheus in Chain") in a new contemporary setting: Manhattan, Times Square. Finally, the four short poems of ICARUS are the reworking of poems on the theme of death by four Italian Romantic poets. The reworking of these poems involves autobiographical references to my own father's death.

ON THE MUSIC One of Moroni’s overarching themes is the conflict between the rational and irrational, which has led me to use a composition technique in which I create mathematical algorithms and/or systems of rules and then use that framework to compose the music. For example, I created an algorithm for PROMETHEUS IN MANHATTAN that forces the melody to reflect itself in time and pitch, but also modulates in unique directions as long as it is allowed to continue. As long as I follow the rules of that algorithm while writing, I allow myself to lean into my natural tendencies for melodic music. By aiming to create music in a more traditional/tonal/rhythmic sense while still constrained by the rules of a rigid (and nonmusical) system, I hope to explore that rational/irrational conflict.

BALLAD OF MAINE does not follow this method, and is rather a selection from a larger piece which takes a melodic and impressionistic style, playing on themes of memory, regret, and hope. REFLECTIONS is less tonal in nature, but still impressionistic in design, interacting with an ambient score that had been composed by Jon Hallstrom long before I began work with Moroni. SHEPHERD IN TRANSIT is an atmospheric piece utilizing a technique of modular composition wherein different harmonic structures are created separately, given a number, and then assembled on a chart depicting the narrative events in the piece. The score for PROMETHEUS IN MANHATTAN, mentioned earlier, was influenced by Moroni’s themes of reflection, agony, and perpetuity.

-JAMES GLASGOW ICARUS LANDS features a system of pitches and rhythms largely governed by translating the words in each poem into the hyperrational symbol language Blissym (look it up, it’s cool) and then mapping the resulting translation to staff paper. The third movement ("Tree, Trees") was generated by a recursive algorithm to imitate the appearance of a bare Mediterranean stone pine. This algorithm created a fractal tree which was then mapped to a piano keyboard to determine the pitches for each “branch.” The frequencies of a cello tone were then digitally manipulated to extend past the normal range of the cello to facilitate an auditory version of this piece. The fourth and final movement is an exercise in growing disorder occurring within a cyclical system. The scores and composition notes are depicted later in this program.

BALLAD OF MAINE POEMS Maybe this is my home,
but what am I saying,
maybe this is the marine house
salted by transparent froth,
what am I saying,
maybe it’s the usual melody, maybe
now I’ve got it, now it seems strange
without stones breaking the silence
it seems true, now as then,
the waves that arrived mutely
waiting for a sign from the shore,
a wave from the sandy line,
under the capsizing sun
or singing in movement,
you and I, in movement
to the song of the ships, a song in motion

having just reached the shore,
ships behind and before
like birds at sunset
that silently fly,
saving their voices
for singing the usual melody.
If I come back the ship will have departed,
if I leave the ship will have returned,
a round trip, circular,
a picture on the wall,
like a melody.

2 And yet, o moon, and yet
Among the ruins and the mind’s
thousand canals,
Not completely perhaps, the day of birth
Is not completely ominous to the one born
Even among the interrupted speeches,
Now that I no longer see the outlines
Of your circle, or half-circle, or sliver,
Now that in this crossing
I remember the deserted fields and the floods,
The flow and ebb
Of chemical filth along the coast.
My only mistake now
Is on the electronic map,
In between oceans, having left
The deserts and the herds
And the caravans by now traveling
At eighty miles an hour
Now the nocturnal light, dark and gray
To contemplate, how to think of you again,
Moon? Where does my short path lead?
With the wind that blows from the rear,
That runs after leaves, breaks
Memories, and your always
Immortal path, where does it go?

REFLECTIONS Journals First night, second night.
Here things need our presence
less and less.
Under this roof, inside our eyes,
beyond the contracted faces.
Each holds on to parts of the memory.
Only sometimes, in some room,
things appear without us.
Thanks to our absence.
It seems that we have our eyes closed;
instead, we shift our look
and seem slow doing so.
The beast crosses the field.
One sees it run, as if it were
following something.
Perhaps it's only our following something.
As when they departed,
without asking for addresses,
believing they could live with traces only.
Each now thinks of the tone of the voice,
dispersed among the things,
among the questions
that are the most difficult to ask.
Because now it is like being closed,
sitting at the end of a phrase,
together with other sounds unheard.

Reflections on Photography How often one fears time
a fear born out of a simple feeling:
of having lost it, time, or of having misused it.

How often one counts time,
in minutes, in hours, or days, or years
and the more one counts the less one owns it.

If only time were tangible in a solid
form, liquid, in a physical form,
but instead, it's vague, and slips away.

Time is in the wrinkles, in calendars and hourglasses,
it’s in the photos where we're portrayed
and seem to look forward.

We look toward today, truly, thus toward the future
as if we were anxious to get there
to that future and seem to allude to it.

From inside the photo's frame
we look out at those who will see us in the future
seeming to send them messages.

We're allusive in the photo, at our school benches
at the family gathering, in the travel picture
even in the one in our passport.

We seem to say, wait for us, we are coming,
instead of being happy to stay there, fastened
eternally to that instant.

Fastened to the present of the photo,
instead we're almost moving,
wanting to exit the frame.

We almost want to move
Restless, even at the instant of stasis
of the calm that would leave us whole.

PROMETHEUS IN MANHATTAN Here I am, Prometheus, outcast, displaced, diverted,
I am here, clownish, isolated, ravaged Prometheus.
I used to be a god, or demigod, or pseudo-god,
who knows what,
who knows how, or where.
Bright and faded air,
winged release and malignant winds,
in Manhattan, in the rivers’ veins, in electric currents,
in nuclear discharges, atomic waste, boundless,
which no longer generate soil, almost vanished,
the cosmic eye, the circle of the sun, and I am calling you,
calling you all:
you see, here, the torment, me fastened to the building
that reflects my image, on screen, digital, unreal,
me projected on screen in Manhattan, Times Square,
on screens infected by the hands of the gods.

Horrible, horrified, leftovers of atomic dust,
written and re-written agony, narrated and gutted,
that persists for millennia, since the heavens found out
about the theft, for millennia blocking me here,
projected on screens, sneered at,
swept away, stripped, ravaged.
Sobs and pains, clownish,
and others ready for the assault,
it’s destiny, and will the spectacle of the brutal projections
on high buildings ever end, in Manhattan, Times Square?

Here at the peak, frontier of the world,
am I a clown or a pilgrim?
Can you see me? Can you all see me?
Yes, yes, can you all see me? I can see you all,
channeled toward distorted routes,
songs of frost and blood,
starry nights with a radioactive moon, can you all see me?
Can you all hear me?
Here I am, tied up, smeared with the hatred of Zeus,
of the many Zeuses, today,
in Manhattan, Times Square.

Children of children, of other children,
they threw you all underground,
deeper than the deepest pit,
bottomless, in the hell that hosts the dead,
with no gleams, in the fierceness of tight knots,
beaten again, is there a god? Is there someone
enjoying these pains?
Shreds exposed to the sun,
torture becomes a feast.

Of me, of you all, of the living infamies,
wrists in the iron shackles,
urgencies that go up against traps,
traps set for me, for you all, you children,
children of children, of still other children,
with hands resolute to uproot
crowns and powers, heavenly rulers,
living infamies, sweet spells casting out.

All of you, can you see me? Can you hear me?
One pays off the ransom with pain,
one cracks the suffering with courage,
then unbridled lips, anguish unearthed,
in the depth one digs the fright
of a tomorrow when we will ask
if there will be a day when we
find a safe harbor
where the torment ends.

ICARUS LANDS Upon Death, on Death
One day, another day
if I runaway fleeing
where, as if, returning
if I no longer dependent
no longer running, around
no longer confused among people
will come to the lost stone,
silence all around and valleys
that gather years
I will return where the space
is shattered all around,
where the roofs push back the flight
reacting to light, in the open
dream of the voice that cuts,
compressing the rest of the secrets
strewn on the table.

If one day, another day
I no longer scattered
in the unsteady contours
of the leaves of dawn,
present, then, forever awaited.

Tree, Trees The tree, the trees
without hands now
green lines of liquid
green and spring
colors without fruits
in your absence, garden without
flowers, lonely sunlit gardens
thirsty where without light
you rest in June.

Plants shaken along the coast,
you who planted those plants,
to the utmost with utmost flowers.
June disappears, cold-earth hands,
voice that doesn’t come
that will not come again.
August 14th, 1996 He was and he wasn’t
for me for all the others
now he is not, there is only air
words of wood and stone
inscribed in wood and stone
and the earth and Maremma
exploded, inert without memory
of you in the final hour, the last dead
trace, fallen, and you’re silent, now.

MUSIC SWIPE TO VIEW MORE, TAP TO ENABLE ZOOM IN/OUT August Maremma, I know and I don't know
why without calm air
he fell, lost far off,
six hours of distance, in time,
in the swallows' space,
on the roofs of memory, of history.

Maremma of the beaks, of the insects
receive him, his nest is mine
and all speak more softly now
in sleep or in silence
listen, for each fallen leaf
a word that touches the season
of the utmost leaves of the fingers
along the walls, in coastal storms.

Life that sustains life,
that traps thoughts.
I know and I don't know
what he did, said,
the body is far away
sliced by the light,
forever moored.

MARIO MORONI BIO Mario Moroni was born in Italy, he moved to the United States in 1989. He has taught at Yale University, Colby College, and Binghamton University. Moroni has published ten volumes of poetry. In 1989, in Italy, he was awarded the Lorenzo Montano national prize for poetry. Moroni's poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies in Italy and the United States. As a critic, Moroni has published three books and has co-edited three collections of essays, all devoted to modern and contemporary Italian and European literature. He has also released three interdisciplinary/multimedia CDs/DVDs: "Reflections on Icarus' Lands," for reciting voice, electronic music, and images in collaboration with composer Jon Hallstrom (2006); "Reciting the Ashes," for reciting voice, soprano voice, and piano, with composer David Gaita (2016); "Recitativi," for reciting voice, piano, cello, and digital music with composer James Glasgow of Strange Fangs Song Factory (2018). Moroni has performed his work in dozens of events in Italy, the UK, Spain, France, Brazil, and across the United States.

JAMES WRIGHT GLASGOW James Glasgow is an internationally acclaimed composer and owner of Strange Fangs Song Factory, a music composition and production company in New York. Glasgow specializes in cello, piano, bass, and guitar performance. Originally from Binghamton, NY, his work has been performed in major cities across the United States, Italy, England, Scotland, and Brazil.
Clients he has composed for include the world-touring dance company Galumpha, Ryan Meadows (sound engineer for Game of Thrones, the Revenant), Sarah Dunton (animator for Tiesto, Post Malone), the Binghamton Philharmonic, Brooklyn’s Muse Circus, and over 100 projects for numerous universities, commercial entities, and private clients since 2015. Glasgow’s compositions have been performed at several major world festivals such as Burning Man and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Glasgow’s independent songwriting work can be found on all streaming services under his stage name, STRANGE FANGS.

Since 2019, Glasgow has been focusing on graphical notation as an interesting way to design unique musical environments (as seen in “Do You See What I Hear?” and “Windchest”). Glasgow also partners with nonprofit agencies to offer Song Factory, a highly successful therapeutic music program for young people recovering from traumatic life events, developed after Glasgow used similar methods to assist in his own trauma recovery. Song Factory is currently offered in Broome, Dutchess, and Orange Counties in New York and has resulted in over 100 therapeutic pieces of original music co-created by the youths and Glasgow.

Get in touch. James Glasgow Mario Moroni +1 607-222-1531  mmoroni@binghamton.edu strangefangs.com mariomoronipoet.com CONTACT +1 845-419-8495 james@strangefangs.com arrow_upward

close Contact menu Welcome Overview Notes Poems Music Bio