MELIA WATRAS: O. Reverie
for narrator and violin (2018)
World Premiere: Melia Watras, narrator; Michael Jinsoo Lim, violin; April 17, 2019, Seattle, WA
One of the masters, O. Henry is part of the American conscience. He grabbed my attention the first time I read The Gift of the Magi in my junior high English class. After that I couldn’t get enough. Who can resist an O. Henry twist? When I had a weekly commute from New York City to Pennsylvania for a couple of years, time seemed to vanish as I listened to O. Henry audio books in the car.
In O. Reverie I contemplate memory with six of my favorite O. Henry stories (The Cactus, The Gift of the Magi, The Furnished Room, The Reformation of Calliope, The Dream and A Blackjack Bargainer) and melody. I was considering the way independent lines can seemingly float, stretch, disintegrate, or warp and intermingle in our minds. In addition to being a play on the author’s famous pen name, the title of my work references O. Henry’s unfinished, final story, The Dream, which marked a new direction he planned on taking with his writing before his untimely death.