Meadowlark Pair

A performance of Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata K492 by David Greilsammer


Meadowlark Pair represents the harmonic pattern of the first section of Sonata K492. The performance comes from a recording by David Greilshammer, which surprisingly alternates Scarlatti Sonatas with John Cage Sonatas and Interludes. One of the things that is most amazing about the album is that the articulation on the prepared piano in the Cage compositions seems to resemble the contours of the Scarlatti Sonata. It is hard to describe, except to imagine what the Scarlatti Sonata would sound like if all of the pitches didn’t sound, and only the physical actions survived. The painting is in some ways about this same feature – it depicts the silent flight of two song birds that land on oak shrubs in a field of dry fescue. Some of the text and markings refer the prose of Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman
Prose Works 1892
Specimen Days
A Meadow Lark
March 16
FINE, clear, dazzling morning, the sun an hour high, the air just tart enough. What a stamp in advance my whole day receives from the song of that meadow lark perch’d on a fence-stake twenty rods distant! Two or three liquid-simple notes, repeated at intervals, full of careless happiness and hope. With its peculiar shimmering-slow progress and rapid-noiseless action of the wings, it flies on a ways, lights on another stake, and so on to another, shimmering and singing many minutes.