April 9, 2008

Flowers For Ana Calil, my intended song cycle for noted Canadian soprano Lilac Cana, is going apace, as they say. I’ve completed the first of the cycle, The Rose Family, with lyrics by Robert Frost. It’s a short, lyrical piece in a major key to introduce the cycle, though other songs will stray far from the confines of sunny tonalities. The second piece (Sunflower Sutra by Allen Ginsberg) is a craggy old work I’m wrestling down to size, trying to find both the inner rhythms and inner rhymes that stay stubbornly hidden on first reading. The piano accompaniment is almost demonic, like Schubert’s Erlkönig or Dukas’s The Sorceror’s Apprentice.

I'm having a lot of fun with these pieces. I used to compose far more, but have had to stop and make time to do this. My ideal sort of song is along the lines of Gabriel Fauré (Les berceaux, Les roses d'Ispahan), Samuel Barber's Hermit Songs and the shorter pieces of Elliott Carter (Three Poems of Robert Frost, including The Rose Family). Once the songs are finished there may well be a recital, which could take place in Toronto or possibly at my recent discovery, UWO's Pride Library (if we get an invitation). The latter would make for a very intimate setting, but then these songs will be intimate for the most part.

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