Endings: Settings Of Three Poems For Baritone And Piano
About this work:
The poems, Walt Whitman's "Youth, Day, Old Age and Night," Archibald MacLeish's "The End of the World," and Henry Vaughan's "They Are All Gone into the World of Light," were written in diferent periods and are very different in style and content. But all, in one way or other, are about endings: hence the title.
In the first setting, the voice and piano parts reflect both Whitman's effusive celebration of youth and his more sober but no less ardent celebration of life in its final stages.
In the second, I have tried to capture both the comical elements in the opening circus scene and the chilling effect of the moment when the top of the tent suddenly blows off and the crowd finds itself staring up into a total void -- a metaphor for the terror in all of us of the possible extinction of life on earth.
The third, a setting of the first five stanzas of a poem by the 17th Century English poet Henry Vaughan, has the same duality of mood as the poem has: mournfulness over the loss of close friends; and hope that death has initiated them, and will one day initiate the poet, into the mysteries of eternity.
Year composed: 2003
Ensemble type: Voice, Solo or With Chamber or Jazz Ensemble:Solo Voice with Keyboard
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 Baritone