At the northernmost tip of the island of Mauritius lies Cap Malheureux. Situated there is a graveyard and at the
point where the cliffs drop off to the sea, a tree. An anonymous grave, draped in green cloth and surrounded by
a small enclosure, is beneath it. On Friday nights townspeople visit the tomb bearing incense and candles. They
call the body buried there simply Baba – father. Prior to the twentieth century, Mauritius was a stopping over
point on the spice trade and a popular migration point for the South Asian diaspora.
My work Cap Malheureux uses the natural sounds of this spot as the basis for its musical materials. Recordings of
the wind have been filtered to yield their most prominent frequencies and these harmonies create the tonality of
the piece. The text is a sentence borrowed from a children's short story, interrupted by cries and shouts.
Cap Malheureux is a part of 'Appeal for Identification,' a large-scale music-theater work-in-progress that gives voice to
Delhi's nameless dead through translating the ambient sounds of the locations where their bodies were found.
Rebekah Alexander, soprano
Theodore Antoniou, conductor
7 October 2012
Tsai Performance Center
Performance by Talea Ensemble; Charlotte Dobbs, soprano, James Baker, conductor
Performance by ALEA III; Rebekah Alexander, soprano, Theodore Antoniou, conductor