Program #1889

From a New Sounds Live concert at The Kitchen, we hear composer Phil Kline's Into the Fire, a 45-minute work originally set as a radio opera, with texts by Luc Sante and video by James Nares. Inspired by Sante's books Low Life and The Factory of Facts, the piece deals with immigration and its uncertainties - particularly the countless faces that have fallen into the cracks of history. This slice of chaos, scored for speaking voices, string quartet, keyboard and tapes, is relayed via a maze of video monitors and boomboxes with live performers "getting lost in the mix."

PROGRAM # 1889, from New Sounds Live at The Kitchen (First aired on 2/16/01)





Bang On A Can

Renegade Heaven

P. Kline: Exquisite Corpses, excerpt [2:00]

Cantaloupe Music #21001.

Phil Kline

Live, The Kitchen, December 6, 2000

Into The Fire:

  1. Resume
  2. Mirage (I Only Have Eyes For You)
  3. Night (aria)
  4. Evidence
  5. The Unknown Soldier

Kline's website contains info on his work and his available recordings:

His CD Glow In The Dark is CRI #801**, available at

Notes to the work by Phil Kline:

Into The Fire is a work-in-progress born of the tandem impulses to compose a piece about New York City and to employ the prose of Luc Sante. While Luc has written brilliantly about the city, I was initially drawn to Resume, the opening chapter of his unique memoir-history The Factory of Facts, in which he tells and retells his life story, each telling taking a different turn, a combination of repetition and fantasy that immediately suggested music to me. When I mentioned this to Luc he showed me To be read at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a mosaic of interwoven monologues delivered by people about to die, which suggested similar possibilities, albeit on an entirely different theme. Or so it seemed, for I soon realized that the fears imagined by the subject of the former, of misfortune and oblivion, of failing and falling into the cracks, are delivered with terrible finality to the speakers of the latter. Then the process of triangulation began, of looking for other texts to traverse the span between the receding memory of one's own history to the ghostly depths of a much larger history. These were found in Luc's two books that deal with a bygone New York, Low Life, whose last chapter Night provides the words of the aria in the middle of the piece, and Evidence, whose chilling crime scene photographs are described in the penultimate section.

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