The video, Androgyne, Mon Amour (2001), is a realization of the
composer's 1997 music theatre work for amplified male double bass player and two digital soundtracks which incorporates a setting of six poems by Tennessee Williams from his book of the same title, as read by Douglas Huffman. The poems are intensely lyrical, intimate and erotic in a celebration of gay love that is acted out, both musically and dramatically, by the live performer interacting in a variety of conventional and unconventional ways with the instrument which is personified as his lover. Both the vocal part and various sound material from the bass are digitally processed through resonators that model the characteristics of the open strings of the instrument, thereby linking them sonically and musically, as if each is speaking through the other. The work was commissioned by and is dedicated to the virtuoso American double bassist Robert Black whose recording of the work has been released on the Cambridge Street Records CD Twin Souls. In the video, the Androgyne character is brought to life by a male dancer, Walter Kubanek.

The full video is available from Cambridge Street Publishing on a DVD as below, and in a compressed QuickTime version on the Organised Sound CD, volume 8 that accompanies the composer's article, "Homoeroticism and Electroacoustic Music: Absence and a Personal View."

View a compressed version of the video here.

I. You and I


Who are you?

A surface warm to my fingers,

a solid form, an occupant of space,

a makeshift kind of enjoyment,

a pitiless being who runs away like water,

something left unfinished, out of inferior matter,

Something God thought of.

Nothing, sometimes everything,

something I cannot believe in,

a foolish argument, you, yourself, not I,

an enemy of mine. My lover.


II. Cruising


Noontime youths,

thighs and groins tight-jean-displayed,

loiter onto Union Square,

junkies flower-scattered there,

lost in dream, torso-bare,

young as you, old as I, voicing soundlessly a cry ...


Androgyne, mon amour,

shadows of you name a price

exorbitant for short lease.

What would you suggest I do,

wryly smile and turn away,

fox-teeth gnawing chest-bones through?

Even less would that be true

than, carnally, I was to you

many, many lives ago,

requiems of fallen snow.


Androgyne, mon amour,

cold withdrawal is no cure

for addiction grown so deep.

Now, finally, at cock's crow,

released in custody of sleep,

dark annealment, time-worn stones

far descending,

no light there, no sound there,

entering depths of thinning breath,

farther down more ancient stones,

halting not, drawn on until

Ever treacherous, ever fair,

at a table small and square,

not first light but last light shows ...

Androgyne, mon amour.


III. Winter Smoke


Winter smoke is blue and bitter:

women comfort you in winter.


Scent of thyme is cool and tender:

girls are music to remember.


Men are made of rock and thunder:

threat of storm to labor under.


Cypress woods are demon-dark:

boys are fox-teeth in your heart.


IV. Liturgy of Roses


This is for you for whom bloom certainly roses ...


and all of those doors floating open on those who have roses

going to those who have roses, in chambers which those without roses

possess no license to enter.


Roses, all roses, the immense impartiality of all God

and all roses,

orifice emptying, never emptied of roses.


Because you are tolerant only of those who have roses,

Your eyes ... saying, These roses, all roses, my roses,

Though still in the arms of those who came bearing roses. 


And by the same token confessing: My tongue, my tongue,

not your body,

my body, my body, not yours,

while murmuring You, while continually murmuring

You, you, you, which is translated to I

no matter how murmured to whom.

V. Wolf's hour


Well, it's three A.M.

after an hour's sleep and a blond youth who declined to stay with me.

Wolf's hour of night is not well-spent alone.

Nevertheless there is this bit of comfort:

in my hands' curved remembrance there remains indelibly

the unclothed flesh of the youth who refused to stay longer,

and I could settle for less,

God knows if not unknowing.


VI. The Ice-Blue Wind


Being expert on the zither

he gave concerts twice a winter ...


His fingers knew The Ice-Blue Wind

that single score and nothing more.

But what of that? It did suffice

to close him in a wall of ice,


Tinged with distance, always blue,

which somehow warmed him through and through.


Long, long after all had gone,

and in the hall crept winter dawn,


He would strike a final string,

take a bow and proudly shin


Up a column up to the roof,

in union with The Absolute.


VII. You and I


Who am I?

A wounded man, badly bandaged,

a monster among angels or angel among monsters,

a box of questions shaken up and scattered on the floor,

A foot on the stairs, a voice on a wire,

a busy collection of thumbs that imitate fingers,

an enemy of yours. Your lover.

Video available in DVD format.

Soundtrack available on Cambridge Street Records "Twin Souls"

Yes, I want to order.

Text copyright © 1977 by Tennessee Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Images and video copyright © 2001, Cambridge Street Publishing.