More On 13 Lunar Meditations by Ayelet Rose Gottlieb 

Ever changing yet always reliable, cyclical, following a pattern, a form. Such is the human, earthly experience of the moon. Such is our view of the rock in our sky. And such is the nature of 13 Lunar Meditations: Summoning the Witches. 

This song cycle has been performed only a few times: in 2015 at Vancouver’s Western Front and NYC’s The Stone; in 2018 at Montréal Resonance Cafe and Planet recording studios; and in 2021, during the pandemic, DB Boyko and I held monthly online live-streams to dig deep into each different song on the album, and creating music videos for each track and conversing with our global community of collaborators – an alternate tour of sorts.  In 2022, we brought the piece back to the stage at Montreal’s Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival, and now, here, at Vancouver’s Modulus Festival. 

The form of the piece was established from its inception – tracing the stages of the moon through poetry and music. I commissioned the poetry from women and girls from many parts of the world, a multilingual and multi-cultural exploration, and then I created the music.  

The piece is never performed the same way twice. This is true of any music rooted in improvisation-based art forms, but in this case, it goes beyond that obvious statement. With my creative partner and co-producer, DB Boyko, we re-compose the pieces before every performance, editing large chunks of the score, shifting the order, taking pieces apart and reconstructing them. 

This composition is never willing to settle into itself, to remain one set “thing.” Like the moon, it beckons us to allow it to shift and change, depending on the platform, the time of year, the specific performers on stage, and our own states of being. It is as though this work itself has a voice, letting us know what it needs at every turn.  

I find myself, as a composer, astounded at this relationship between myself and this song-cycle. I have submitted and committed to the process it demands of me, of constant revision and change. In this way, every performance is a premier of sorts, one that will never be repeated again. 

Ayelet Rose Gottlieb. October 2022. Vancouver, BC.

Tickets & concert info: 13 Lunar Meditations: Summoning the Witches – November 5, 2022 at THE ROUNDHOUSE.

Support for The Composer Essay Project is generously provided by SOCAN Foundation.