Confinement was completed in 1965, and was first performed in 1967 by the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble with Arthur Weisberg conducting. A recording of the piece is available on Nonesuch Records, with the same ensemble. It is dedicated to the memory of my father; who was Renaissance and Reformation historian. The piece deals with the subject of illness, and various confined musical shapes are used as analogies or metaphors for states of mind during illness. Some texts from John Donne’s Devotions were in my mind at the time of composition. They are not a program for the piece, and do not represent its full expressive range, but may be to the listener in perceiving the sectional outline and general character of the piece.
1. Variable, and therefore miserable condition of man! This minute, I was well, and am ill, this minute.
2. The sick-bed is a grave, and all that the patient says there is but a carrying of his own epitaph.
3. I sleep not day or night…Why is none of the heaviness of my heart dispensed into mine eyelids, that they might fall as my hear doth?
4. This bell calls us all…Let the power of thy Spirit recompense the shortness of time.