i have not always been as now is a four-movement piece for soprano voice, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and glockenspiel. The libretto is a reworking of literature by Edgar Allen Poe. I read through his entire output of poetry, isolated lines that I enjoyed, stood out, or triggered a musical thought in my head, and rearranged them to create a new story. The story is purposefully vague, and its specific meanings and interpretations shall be deciphered by the listener. The story follows someone who is recalling memories of a love from the past. This love could be a person, a thing, a past version of themselves, a person they wish had existed in their life, a hallucination, or something else—the possibilities are endless. The main character takes the listener through the journey of loving, and eventually losing, this entity. The circumstance in which this happens is also vague and up for interpretation by the listener. The main character shows many signs of being unstable, which also brings a perspective of truthfulness into the picture. The listener must decide whether or not to trust what this character is saying. There are many small details (like the performers entering and leaving at different times) that add to the illusion of insanity or hallucination. Overall, there is a logical beginning, middle, and end, and that is the only intentionally concrete part of this piece.
Knowles, Bailey, "i have not always been as now" (2019). Compositions. 47.