In Me (2021)
by Paola Prestini (b. Trento, Italy, 1975) and Tanya Tagaq (b. Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada, 1975)
The present work is a “reimagination” (as the score calls it) of a song by Tanya Tagaq, from the acclaimed Inuk singer's newest album, Tongues. Building on the ancient throat-singing tradition of her native Arctic, Tagaq has developed a powerful new artform, incorporating elements of punk and electronica, and celebrating the strength and independent spirit of the Inuit people. Working in collaboration with Tagaq, Paola Prestini—another major innovator on the contemporary music scene—has entrusted the solo cello with the task of impersonating the singer.
Prestini, her husband, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, and Tagaq are long-time collaborators. In this latest result of their creative partnership, the solo cello “channels” the singer by rapid alternations of high and low notes, wide glissandos and tremolos, while the string orchestra adds its own evocative sounds, inspired by the electronic effects on Tagaq's recordings. Towards the end, there is a moment marked “Freak Out,” where the orchestra members improvise over drawings of entangled lines inscribed into their parts. The line patterns suggest a gradual decrescendo that lasts until the end of the piece, interrupted only by a single, sudden outburst.