Lip Service

Lip Service, by Robert Honstein
Performed by Concert Black
Owen Weaver, Domenica Fossati, Lisa Dowling

Audio/Video by Evan Chapman


1. Better find those little blue pills if you plan on giving her more than lip service
2. Halfway?
3. I am hidden my dear for you!!!!

‘Lip Service’ is a suite of pieces from the wordless song cycle ‘RE: You’. A number of years ago a friend of the composer received about 100 emails by mistake. Ranging from the childish to the bizarre, the messages were copies of every communication some unknown person had sent or received in a popular dating website. Providing a glimpse into the trials and vulnerability of finding love in the digital age, each piece in ‘RE: You’ responds to single lines extracted from the emails, imagining the emotional world behind the errant messages. In ‘Lip Service’ the first movement, ‘Better find those little blue pills if you plan on giving her more than lip service’, is a letter of advice sent from an unknown friend. The second movement, ‘Halfway?’, is in fact an entire email. It refers to a meeting point halfway between the mystery man and a woman’s home. From what we know, the meeting never took place. The third movement, ‘I am hidden my dear for you!!!’, perhaps explains the failed meeting, but we cannot be certain. ‘Lip Service’ was released on Robert Honstein’s debut album, ‘RE: You’, on New Focus Recordings.

Through a combination of original music, improvisation and collaboration with leading composers of his generation, percussionist Owen Weaver’s “intensely focused” (Gramophone) performances combine the forces of rhythm, noise, beauty and stasis while seeking the musical potential in everyday life. He uses recycled objects, homemade instruments and electronic sounds to construct a kaleidoscopic sound world ranging from the visceral to the sublime, clangorous to hypnotic.

Owen has been featured in the NYC-based Wordless Music Series, MATA Interval Series, Fast Forward Austin, two Nonclassical Records SXSW official showcases, and National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered. A diverse collaborator, he has performed in Europe, South America and throughout the U.S. with Mantra Percussion, Glenn Branca Ensemble, NEWSPEAK, Concert Black, and others including performances with Conspirare: A Company of Voices for a PBS television special and Grammy-nominated album. A passionate educator, Owen is a teaching artist for both the West Side YMCA and the 92nd Street YMCA, and has taught at Yale, Cornell, CalArts, Texas Lutheran University, the University of Texas at Austin, the Hartt School, and Rikers Island Correctional Facility.

Celebrated for his “roiling, insistent orchestral figuration” (New York Times) and “glittery, percussive pieces” (Toronto Globe and Mail), Robert Honstein (b. 1980) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music.

His works have been performed throughout North America by ensembles such as the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, eighth blackbird, Ensemble ACJW, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Mivos quartet, the Del Sol Quartet, Concert Black, TIGUE, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, among others. He has received an Aaron Copland Award, multiple ASCAP awards and other honors from SCI, Carnegie Hall, and New Music USA. He has also received residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Copland House, the Bang on a Can Summer Institute, and the Tanglewood Music Center. His debut album ‘RE: You’ was released on New Focus Recordings and a second album ‘Night Scenes from the Ospedale’, a collaboration with the Sebastians, is available on Soundspells productions.

sheet music available at: