Objects Food Rooms: Three meditations from Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons for mezzo-soprano, alto flute and piano. 13′

  1. chicken
  2. a blue coat
  3. the light in the moon

Stein’s remarkable ‘Tender Buttons’ takes as its subject household items, commemorating everyday domestic life.  But Stein’s language gives the reader a view through a fractured lens: the text loops and repeats, sometimes with incomplete syntax.  Her stream of consciousness meditates on an ever-shifting subject, obliquely suggesting that some meaning lies beyond if we could stay on one topic long enough.  Her text rarely pauses and sticks with a stream of ‘surface’ observations which celebrate the everyday objects that provide a backdrop to life at home.

Janet Smarr Pape commissioned and premiered the first version of this work, for mezzo-soprano and clarinet, in Paris, 2014.  This re-write for the same voice, alto flute and piano dates from 2021. See a score excerpt here.  Buy the score and parts here.