English Medicine

English Medicine
(1998)
Oren Fader, guitar, William Anderson, mandolin, Tara O’Connor, flute, Rob Ingliss, oboe, Calvin Wiersma, violin, Susannah Chapman, ‘cello

Engish Medicine is one of five pieces that make up the suite Gone For Foreign written for The Cygnus Ensemble in 1998-1999. The suite was commissioned by The American Composers Forum and premiered at Merkin Hall in New York in 2000. The piece was recorded for Bridge Records and released on CD in 2005. Much of the piece was written in Chennai, South India while I was living there on a grant from The American Institute of Indian Studies. The titles of the movements are taken from the Indian English dialect used in Southern India. “Gone for foreign” means “gone abroad,” usually for work or education, as in, “My brother has gone for foreign.” “English Medicine” simply refers to Western medicine, as opposed to indigenous Indian forms such as Ayurvedic or Siddha medicine. These titles obliquely suggest the odd experience I had of composing contemporary American music in South India. I believe that the music I wrote was altered—much like the English language in India—in interesting and surprising ways due to the cultural context and environment I inhabited.


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