Il girasole (Eugenio Montale)

Martin Hennessy

About this work:
When I was a child my father let me plant sunflowers in the last row of the garden next to the rhubarb. After brilliant careers when they were spent and dry, we cut off the giant heads and nailed them up in trees to become bird feeders. They eyed us like great pre-historic masks. During a group at the London Healing Circle in 1994 I shared how I was able to “come out” about my own HIV status through the example of a young Italian man. A German fellow told me afterwards that my experience recalled Montale’s poem, Il girasole (The sunflower). I would memorize and set it in dedication to my courageous lover/friend, Gianni. A dazzling Mediterranean light instructs the piano prelude. The vocal line yearns sun-ward, “outing” and transforming itself. Darker harmonies lure us within the shaft of this dinosaur flower, pulling up from the cool shade to explode again into the golden yellows of B flat and D. Positive Music presented the premier in a concert at the Greenwich House in New York on June 24, 1996 with tenor, Joseph Wolverton and myself at the piano. Available through Classical Vocal Reprints in Four Songs Volume II (CVR3441).
Version: high voice and piano
Year composed: 1996
Duration: 00:05:13
Ensemble type: Voice, Solo or With Chamber or Jazz Ensemble:Solo Voice with Keyboard
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 High Voice

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