Family Recipe for Biscuits
for Singer and Double Bass
Text: Aaron Fullerton
From the perspective of the lyricist:
When I met with Sarah and Maggie about collaborating on a piece, we discussed themes and ideas that resonated with us personally. Two themes that kept popping up? Family and food.
The resulting text, “Family Recipe for Biscuits,” is a poem that is divided into four sections, each conveying a distinct point of view and experience. The first, “1942”, tells the story of the recipe’s creation, born from the distractions of a worried, expectant mother. The narrator in “1963” is the grown daughter of the woman in “1942”; she’s using her mother’s recipe to impress a suitor and display her domestic prowess. In “1971,” that suitor is now a husband and father, left to cook for the children one night when the wife is away. The recipe requires more from him than he expected, but so do his children. The fourth section, “2010,” offers the narrator an opportunity for independence, especially in a busy world full of pre-fabricated goods. Each narrator links the recipe to a personal fear or failure, but the recipe itself—and the resulting biscuits—are a source of comfort and pride. Who wouldn’t want a set of instructions in a world that often feels uncontrollable?
From the perspective of the composer:
Written specifically for Maggie Hasspacher, Family Recipe for Biscuits was written in 2012. “1942” has two moods that cycle in and out: introspective recitative passages portraying the narrator’s inner thoughts and feelings, and then contrasting 12/8 figures that represent the singer’s effort to distract herself from her worries through baking. “1963” incorporates sassy and saucy riffs with questioning and pondering motives that exude both the singer’s confidence and doubts. In “1971,” I wrote a minimalist-esque ostinato in the voice and bass that represents the father trying to keep his temper under wraps until he finally realizes his children can actually melt that temper away. And finally, “2010” is a combination of reminiscent melodic lines and excited text that help prove the power of a home cooked meal amongst today’s culture.