Saturday, February 19, 2011

Recent Solo Songs with Piano

  • Six Zen Lyrics: 2009: Soprano (Mezzo) and Piano: texts adapted by the composer: 8 min. 30 sec.
  • Invictus:  Five Henley Songs: 2006-2008: Voice and Piano: texts by William Ernest Henley: 13 min. 30 sec.
  • Five Snow Songs: 2007: Voice and Piano: texts by Archibald Lampman: 14 min.
Six Zen Lyrics will be premiered in March by soprano Lucy Bledig (for whom they were written) with Erika Reiman, piano. I adapted the texts from translations of Chinese and Japanese Zen poets. The original form of these poems was lost in the translation, translators begin more concerned with rendering the sense of the poems. I worked with them, substituting words and turning them about, until I had words that I could set to music. They're short, the shortest about 75 secs. I have already transposed them for mezzo soprano. There's no reason a man couldn't sing them, though. 

Henley was a modern poet writing in Victorian times when most English poetry still sounded thoroughly Jacobean. Invictus is rightly famous and the other poems set here stand up to it. As always, I strove through varied musical styles to portray the moods of the poems.  Madame Life has echos of the music hall. The Wind and the Rain and Between the Dusk comment in different ways upon the human condition with very different musical means. I am the Reaper is a towering declaration of Divine power. Somebody with a dramatic bent could bring down the house with these songs. 

Five Snow Songs have been recorded by a baritone, Reid Spencer, were written for and premiered by a tenor, David Holler and have been performed by a mezzo, Petra Pacaric. Again, I have endeavored to portray the five different moods and evocations of the Canadian woodland winter that Lampman loved. They range from introspection to joyous declaration, engaging singer, pianist and public.

Al of these songs are available in high and medium keys. Please contact me at at this address.