The Beginning of Everything

trumpet, cello, percussion
(2015) 17′

Program Note

The Maya story of creation, as told in the Popol Vuh, is one of trial and error. Two gods, Hurucan and Gugumatz, come together to create the world and its inhabitants, populating the earth with creatures whose purpose is to praise the gods. During the process of making man, though, the gods find themselves disappointed with the results of their work, and many attempts are made before they are satisfied. This piece follows this story of creation, with each movement depicting a scene from the Popol Vuh.

Prelude: The Creation of the Sea and Earth The creation story describes the two gods creating anything simply by imagining it. Their first act together is to imagine the mountains, and the mountains then rise up. Likewise, when they imagine the sea, the water appears, setting the scene for what is to come next.

I. Making the Birds, Insects and Animals The gods then set about making the animals and birds. This leads to some disappointment, though, when their new living creations only squawk, roar and bark at them.

II. Making Man from Clay The creators then decide to make man, using wet clay to do so. This, too, ends poorly when the new humans droop and collapse to the ground, unable to keep their own bodies together.

III. Making Man from Wood The gods make a second attempt at creating man, this time using wood. The new humans move about freely and populate the earth, but their minds are empty, and the gods are displeased.

IV. Making Man from Maize Finally, the gods agree to make man from maize, the core crop of the Maya, and this attempt is successful - so successful that the gods became concerned that man has become too knowledgeable, and they take some of man’s intellect back, leaving humankind a flawed people.

The Beginning of Everything was commissioned by Drumpetello (Mary Thornton, Carrie Pierce and Matthew McClung) and is dedicated to this new, unique ensemble of visionary performers.

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The Beginning of Everything

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