Bound and Unbound (2011)
Bound and Unbound (2011) was composed entirely using an important theme from the chamber opera The Binding of Isaac (2005-06).
The Binding of Isaac is based on the story of the Biblical Abraham and his family. The theme used in Bound and Unbound is a seven note ostinato from the opera. It is the motive for Abraham's wife, Sarai, and forms a broken minor scale. But when the ostinato begins on its third note, forming a broken major scale, it represents Abraham's mistress Hagar.
The title Bound and Unbound is a poetic description of how the characters Sarai and Hagar are bound to one another through ties of love and family. Abraham's infidelity leads Sarai to exile - unbind - Hagar. Sarai and Hagar's seven-note themes are "bound and unbound" throughout the work through various contrapuntal and canonic techniques.
premiere: Jon Jensen, St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN), October 20 2011
additional performances: Kati Gleiser, Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), February 29 2012