Commissioned by Lydia Beasley and Joseph Kneer.
Tender Buttons is a setting of selections from Gertrude Stein's book of the same name. Described as "verbal cubism," Stein's texts are frequently non-sensical and concentrate on the flow of words and syllables, rather than the meaning of the words.
I. DIRT AND NOT COPPER.
Dirt and not copper makes a color darker. It makes the shape so heavy and makes no melody harder.
It makes mercy and relaxation and even a strength to spread a table fuller. There are more places not empty. They see cover.
II. A SOUND. (violin solo)
Elephant beaten with candy and little pops and chews all bolts and reckless reckless rats, this is this.
III. A LONG DRESS.
What is the current that makes machinery, that makes it crackle, what is the current that presents a long line and a necessary waist. What is this current.
What is the wind, what is it.
Where is the serene length, it is there and a dark place is not a dark place, only a white and red are black, only a yellow and green are blue, a pink is scarlet, a bow is every color. A line distinguishes it. A line just distinguishes it.
Alas a dirty word, alas a dirty third alas a dirty third, alas a dirty bird.
V. A TIME TO EAT. (soprano solo)
A pleasant simple habitual and tyrannical and authorised and educated and resumed and articulate separation. This is not tardy.
Eat ting, eating a grand old man said roof and never never re soluble burst, not a near ring not a bewildered neck, not really any such bay.
Is it so a noise to be is it a least remain to rest, is it a so old say to be, is it a leading are been. Is it so, is it so, is it so, is it so is it so is it so.
Eel us eel us with no no pea no pea cool, no pea cool cooler, no pea cooler with a land a land cost in, with a land cost in stretches.
Eating he heat eating he heat it eating, he heat it heat eating. He heat eating.
A little piece of pay of pay owls owls such as pie, bolsters.
Will leap beat, willie well all. The rest rest oxen occasion occasion to be so purred, so purred how.
It was a ham it was a square come well it was a square remain, a square remain not it a bundle, not it a bundle so is a grip, a grip to shed bay leave bay leave draught, bay leave draw cider in low, cider in low and george. George is a mass.
Duration: ca. 17'