A Chopsticks Fantasy ('Mildred's Thoughts')
1991 • 18 minutes • Piano, reciter (optional).
(Text by Gertrude Stein)
'A Chopsticks Fantasy (Mildred's Thoughts)' attempts to capture the spontaneous, whimsical, fantastical world of early childhood through the vehicle of a piece which often is the first a child plays at the piano. Inspired by the general outlook and piano improvisations (some of which are quoted) of my two year old son Kevin the piece includes periods of incessant repetition and rapid shifts of attention, both of which are characteristic of this age group. The (optional) inclusion of the text 'Mildred's Thoughts' by Gertrude Stein indicates my continued fascination with this writer. Stein's goal of writing in the 'continuous present' seems to capture the same elements listed above and this particular text includes numerous childlike images and juxtapositions.
The work was commissioned by Boyd McDonald with the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council. The text 'Mildred's Thoughts' (1922) is used by permission of the Estate of Gertude Stein and can be found in the collection 'Reflection on the Atomic Bomb' published by Black Sparrow Press (1973).