Facing West from California’s Shores: fantasia on poem of walt Whitman

Title Facing West from California’s Shores: fantasia on poem of walt Whitman
Year 2006
Composer Martin Schreiner
Instrument/s alto voice, shakuhachi, koto
Commission Written for: Afternoon of Shakuhachi and Koto Music concerts
Text Walt Whitman
First Performance (date, performers, venue) November 19, 2006, Afternoon of Shakuhachi and Koto Music Concert #9, Ryuko Mizutani and Marco Lienhard, Yawkey Function Hall, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Contact for Sheets the composer
Contact Info https://mmschreiner.instantencore.com/web/home.aspx
Notes “East and West in Harmony”—concert 2, Nov. 19, 2006 Facing West from California’s Shores: a fantasia on a poem of Walt Whitman (2006)This composition is a setting of the 1867 version of Whitman’s poem. “In his characteristic role as wanderer, [Whitman] is here symbolic of the race, with its Asian beginnings and westward advance to its return full circle” [Blodgett and Bradley]. This theme is fitting for today’s program. It is also interesting to our contemporary ideas about the migration of human beings across the planet. In particular, Spencer Wells’ documentary “The Journey of Man”. Wells traces a common ancient genetic mutation across the peoples of the world back to a common ancestor of the African Bushman. The evidence seems to demonstrate the wanderings of humans from Africa northward into Europe and eastward across Asia, across the ancient Berring Strait glacial ice bridge into the Americas. [Martin Schreiner] Whitman’s poem: Facing west from California’s shores, Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound, I, a child, very cold, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar, Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled; For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere, From Asia, from the north, from God, the sage, and the hero, From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and spice islands, Long having wander’d since, round the earth having wander’d, (But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?)