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2016 Fall Culture Guide

Sleep-Talker’s Song

 
Tim Munro (left) and David Reminick   Photo: Erika Dufour

By Graham Meyer

Published Sept. 12, 2016

After Tim Munro commissioned a solo piece for flute and voice from composer David Reminick last year, the two Oberlin graduates spent months struggling to find the right inspiration. “Then Dave revealed to me one day that he kept a log of all the words [his partner, Gabriela Zapata-Alma] said in her sleep,” says Munro. “He would record these 2 a.m. conversations where she was still completely asleep.” 

Reminick started keeping a diary and making recordings of Zapata-Alma’s sleep speech in 2006, mostly because he thought it was hilarious. His first entry: “Don’t give me gadgets and tell me it’s food.” Those words now appear in Seven Somniloquies, a new work full of Zapata-Alma’s nocturnal musings that Munro will premiere at the new-music-palooza Ear Taxi Festival. “Gabriela’s the most prolific somniloquist I know,” says Reminick. “Every time I play a recording the next day, she has no recollection of this happening.” 

In Somniloquies, Reminick sets each text with a different feel, employing advanced techniques such as key clicks, tongue rams, and speaking across the embouchure hole. “He manages to meld the craft of a classical composer with this immense energy and gleeful chaotic spirit,” says Munro, who plays, sings, and speaks in the piece. Reminick describes the syncopated, melodic, sometimes atonal music as being like “Brian Wilson and Stravinsky had a baby.” That sounds like one trippy dream. 

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