This work requires a 4-channel sound system. Two front and two back speakers are required. Additional back speakers may be required if there is a balcony in the hall. It is preferable, but not essential, to have the voice and instrumental ensemble amplified discreetly. A digital keyboard with at least 72 keys (used as controller only) is required to play the samples. A computer (with 4-channel out capabilities) loaded with samples and accompanying Max patch is also required. The Max patch and 4-channel samples are available with score/part rental. There should be a skilled sound engineer for set-up and operation.
Deep-Sky Objects is a cycle of love songs set in the distant future, exploring intergalactic longing and desire. It is scored for soprano, piano quintet, and pre-recorded electronic sounds. When the piano quintet was in its heyday, the subject that permeated so many of the great Romantic song cycles was that of longing and lost love. Deep-Sky Objects transfers this trope to the outer reaches of the universe In the cycle a woman sings of her lover who is far away in a remote planet in some unspecified star system. At moments she remembers a time when they were together, but mostly she longs for him and stoically imagines that his presence, even so remote, gives her hope:
I can live in the world
With your love because
I know you exist
at the end of the black universe
The electronics part often references various "sounds from space," from pulsars (which are routinely converted into audio signals by astronomers), the signals of made-made satellites, actual audio of the Huygens probe landing on Saturn's moon, Titan, as well as many sounds suggestive of the eerie, remote and unfathomable reaches of deep space. Each of the ten songs is preceded by a short sample, or incipit, which creates micro-compositions based on the title of each song. The text is written specifically for Deep-Sky Objects, by Sarah Manguso.
— Sebastian Currier