Procession and Burlesque was commissioned by the Rochester-based ensemble five-by-five as a response to Judith Schaechter’s stunning stained glass work “The Battle of Carnival and Lent” (above). The work on its own is so vital and fresh, so teeming with energy, passion, and intricate detail, that I was initially doubtful about what music could possibly add to it. The approach that finally clicked for me was to think about the inherent qualities of the two media; specifically, that a work of visual art is temporally static, while music progresses through time. The thing that music could add, then, was a narrative. If the artwork depicted a single snapshot in time, what might have led up to this moment – and what would come after? After an introduction that sets the tone and mood, the “Procession” depicts the lead-up to the moment depicted in the stained glass, as the opposing sides of human nature represented by “carnival” and “lent” warily approach one another, getting closer and closer. An ominous melody repeats again and again, getting more intense and insistent on each iteration, like a procession gradually getting closer and closer. Then a brief pause as the two sides size each other up…and then all hell breaks loose in the madcap “Burlesque,” a whirling frenzy of klezmer, surf rock, and manic carnival music. After building to a searing climax, the “introduction” music returns, and gradually winds down. We are left amidst the wreckage, devastatingly aware of the steep cost of the conflict.