Project Description

ART SONG

As a composer of art song, I am particularly inspired by the architecture of a poem, the sounds, and meaning of a word, its rhythmic power. I have set poems by several women poets, including Margaret Atwood, Betty Andrews, Silvia Curbelo, and Kathleen Raine. I am attracted to the voice of the female poet: her strength and sensitivity, but also her vulnerability. But I have set texts by male figures as well, even using quotes that sum up their masculine identities.

The process of setting words to music often begins as an experiment in gesture. This usually starts as a “cell” or “germ” that has the potential for heightening and intensifying the meaning and power of the words. Although a poem may arouse an initial emotion, it is only when I have finished the composition that I know whether or not I have captured the true essence of that poem. If the listener reacts positively and is engaged, I know I have created something special, something that is perhaps universal.

Wink & Wonder

Poetry by Douglas Atwill (2019)
Bass & Piano

1. Morning at the Temple

2. Camera Ready

3. Fairy Circle

4. Beloved Girl

5. The Visitor

A Night at the Opera

Poetry by Douglas Atwill (2018)
Tenor (or Soprano) & Piano

Botany for the Gods

Poetry by Janet Joyner (2016)
Soprano & Piano

1. Cassandra

2. Botany for the Gods

3. Rain Song (Homage to Paul Verlaine)

4. Decoherence as My Way Out of the Quantum Mechanics of Underpants

5. In a Goolagong Bog

6. Lift Off

Black Day, Bright Day

Poetry by Louise Labé, translation by Willis Barnstone (2013)
Contralto & Piano (6’21”)

1. Sonnet XIV Although I Cry (3’54”)

2. Sonnet XV To Honor the Return of Sparkling Sun (2’27”)

I Spill My Soul

Poetry by E.E. Cummings (2009)
Soprano & Piano

Cowboy Dreams

Three arrangements of songs from the Western Frontier
Tenor or High Baritone & Piano (8’15”)

1. The Cowboy’s Dream (3’30”)

2. The Pecos Stream (2’35”)

3. The Big Corral (2’10)

Four Songs of the Heart

Poetry by Kathleen Raine (2009)
Mezzo-soprano & Piano (12′)

Four Sonnets by Pablo Neruda, Set 1

English translations by Stephen Tapscott (2006)
Soprano or Mezzo-soprano & Piano (12′)

Four Sonnets by Pablo Neruda, Set 2

English translations by Stephen Tapscott (2008)
Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano & Piano (14′)

Quatre Mélodies de Ronsard

Poetry by Pierre de Ronsard (2007)
Baritone or Mezzo-Soprano & Piano (11′)

Night Dreams

Poetry by Margaret Atwood (2006)
Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano &Piano (17′)

Awake on a Spring Night

Poetry by Betty Andrews (1994)
Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano & Piano (12′)

The Secret History of Water, Set 1

Poetry by Silvia Curbelo (2003)
Mezzo-Soprano & Piano

The Secret History of Water, Set 2

Poetry by Silvia Curbelo (2003)
Soprano & Piano

The Secret History of Water, Set 3

Poetry by Silvia Curbelo (2003)
Tenor or Baritone & Piano

Three Songs for Bass-Baritone

Poetry by Thomas Carew; Dante Gabriel Rossetti; anon. (2012)
Bass-baritone & Piano (12′)

1. Celia Singing (5’30”)

2. Song and Music (4’15”)

3. A Short History of Medicine (2’00”)

Tres Cançoes

Portuguese poems by Ricardo, del Melo Neto & de Morales
Tenor or Soprano & Piano (8′)

De Amor Oscuro

Spanish poetry by Federico Alarcón (2004)
Tenor or Soprano & Piano (5′)

Five Edgar Allan Poe Songs

Bass & Piano

Five Songs

Soprano & Piano

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