by Emily Kearns.
Stepping into Wishon Avenue’s Vista Theater on Friday evening, a certain air of transcendence ushered me into a crowded room. Dark and misty sounds of tuning instruments dripped down twinkly lights and pulled a warm audience close and out of the rain as people filed in and took their seats.
I knew that Triptych would be special. A culmination of years-long work and fine-tuning by a young composer. Beautiful, thematic lines of verse by a quickly accomplished poet. The piece is composition both metrical and musical. The simultaneous juxtaposition and flow was to be expected from a pair so well-practiced. But as Triptych began, its arc unfurled itself in a manner more peaceful and serene than I could have anticipated.
Musicians cluttered the stage, people in profile as EJ Hinojosa deftly conducted his original piece to fill the room. Even the shape of the venue seemed to lend itself to this composition in three; a movement for each panel of Bosch’s poem that unfolded like a handwritten letter. Parenthetically, “triptych” is an artistic term indicating something in three.
At the stage left side, Mariah Bosch sat calmly commanding the room. Steady and even, she read her written word in perfect rhythm, one eighth rest at a time. From our point of view, the music moved from left to right ending with the poet, in perfect reading fashion, splayed out from measure to measure, line to line.
In the composition of this particular show, first came Mariah Bosch’s poetry. A graduate student in Fresno State’s MFA program, Bosch created this original poem indicating past, present, and future. It is simple in length, but precisely crafted. A copy of her writing is displayed on paper in the program, which is a lovely and innovative touch.
After Bosch created her piece, Hinojosa composed his music to interweave and bookend in musical liturgy what had already been established in plain word.
An intuitive and tenacious musician, EJ Hinojosa created a piece that blended well with Bosch’s writing and stood substantially on its own as it washed over the audience. Dreamy and dark, sparkling and subdued, the notes seemed to glitter and reflect in the small room. Pizzicato on violin and electric guitar chords both found their places in the score. Toward the end of the third stanza of Bosch’s poem, there is a quick and nimble shift in the music from a major to minor key, and at the very end, we hear a certain fusion feeling as instruments blend in tune for a final time.
These two pieces were made for each other. Although each could thrive alone and are excellent in their own right, it is an incredible thing to witness them come together.
In Rogue, we seek what is new, what is innovative, and what is gritty, and with Triptych, we find that.
Between poet, composer, and musicians, there is true and honest artistry.
Fresno should certainly be proud of the bloom that’s created here in three.