Hawaii Hawaii Hawaii

for saxophone and orchestra

Joe Cutler

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for saxophone and orchestra

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Composer Joe Cutler
Year of Composition 2019
Duration ca.20'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-jc1hhh1


Hawaii Hawaii Hawaii is a meditation on a story entitled Somni-451, which forms part of the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. The story is set in the near future, situated in an East Asian dystopian empire called Nea So Copros, where excesses of consumerism and corporate culture are widespread. Most of the rest of the world consists of “deadlands”, places full of disease, ruins and radioactive contamination.

Somni-451 is a fabricant waitress at a fast food restaurant called Papa Song’s. Fabricants are clones reared in vats, and are used as a widespread source of cheap labour. Society is divided into purebloods, those who have been born naturally, and fabricants. Fabricants are required to work for vastly long days, and their full consciousness is supressed through the nightly ingestion of chemicals, known as “soap”. After twelve years of slavery (each year gaining a “star”), the fabricants are promised freedom in Hawaii. In the dinery there are holograms of liberated fabricants dancing on the beaches of Honolulu.

Somni-451 gradually gains ascension (full consciousness) and with it, a full realisation of her situation. With the assistance of the anti-government rebel movement, Union, she escapes, goes on the run, before final capture and subsequent show-trial. Her infamy is furthered when she makes public a set of abolitionist declarations relating to justice and equality. The whole story is told as a final interview with an archivist.

I was deeply moved by this highly plausible story. This resulting piece is less a programmatic response, more a resonance on the themes explored.

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