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For Flute and String Quartet (2022)

From the flute’s opening ‘once upon a time’, PillowTalk takes us through a surreal journey that
dares to illustrate the nebulous emotions we feel when the sun is low as we bask in the morning
glow with our partners—not quite awake, but no longer asleep. In moments like these, who
hasn’t felt profound euphoria—an unmanageable electricity permeating our skin? In moments
like these, who hasn’t also felt profound fear—shame and insecurity brought on by an unwanted, dissociative realization that we may never live up to the fairy tale that we want our partners to believe we are?

PillowTalk, named as such to reflect an internal dialogue more so than an interpersonal one,
imagines these emotions in three acts. The opening act gently lulls us into a space between
dreams and reality. Here our experience is at its most intangible. What are we hearing? What are
we feeling? We think it feels good, the high, but we can’t help but feel sad, too. The second act,
much more energetic than the first, introduces us to unrelenting, maybe slightly unnerving, but
joyfully electrifying hyper fixation. For a moment, nothing exists beyond us and our partners. But
the energy quickly becomes too much to bear. So we crash, and sometimes that crash is hard.
The third act, in many ways an echo of the first, illustrates this crash and explores the ensuing
spiral of insecurity that follows. Still colored by the euphoria of the moment, but now
encumbered by the black mass of dissociative self-recognition. And the self we recognize is so
far from our ideal. Can we ever hope to be good enough for this person with whom we are
sharing this moment? Sure we like to dream that someday maybe we can, but, honestly, we will
never embody that ideal, because a fairy tale is exactly what that ideal is. Nothing more. So with
a Sisyphean tenacity, we grieve the death of that dream, only for it to be born anew tomorrow,
come which we will grieve its death once again.

ETHEL and Allison Loggins-Hull perform "Pillow Talk" by Xavier Muzik Live at the Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Auditorium 10/16/22

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