Vocal Music

Performance parts are available on request.

Solo Voice - Chorus - Opera

Solo Voice
Aria and Parody

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soprano, Bb clarinet, violoncello, piano

This small suite is taken from a dance work created for Linda Rappaport and House on Fire entitled "Eyeless Tears in a Universe of Ether." The texts are by Robert Epstein. Whereas the surrealistic texts are treated dramatically in the Aria, the Parody is playful and irreverent and the wordless soprano is treated as another instrument. The sound file has a MIDI realization of the aria followed by a performance of the Parody by Phyllis Fay Farmer, soprano, Martha Wade, piano, Richard Goldsmith, clarinet, and Nancy Ives, cello.

Duration: 6 minutes

cry unto the night

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dramatic soprano, 2 bassoons

The texts are taken from James Joyce's Chamber Music, specifically the poems "The Noise of Waters," "Sleep Now," and "I Hear an Army Marching." Soprano Linda Gravis Cox and bassoonists Ann Marie Lapinsky and John Iskra are heard in this excerpt.

Duration: 8 minutes

Monongahela Rising

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mezzosoprano and piano

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This song cycle describes the course of a woman's romance, from first stirrings of love to the dissolution of the relationship and hope of new loves to come. It all takes place in Pittsburgh, where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet. Lyrics are by Leah Maddrie. The performance for the medium voice version is by soprano Diana Solomon-Glover accompanied by Christopher Johnson.

Duration: 15 minutes

Moon Songs

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lyric soprano and piano

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Using poems from James Joyce's less well known Pomes Penyeach, these two songs invoke the moonlight and mystery of their texts. They are performed here by JoAnne Dawson, soprano and Walter Cosand, piano.

Duration: 2 minutes

Songs from Spanish Poets

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bass-baritone and string quartet English translations of poems by Rafael Alberti, Vicente Aleixandre, and Federico Garcia Lorca are used to create a dramatic sweep requiring virtuoso talents of both singer and quartet.

Duration: 20 minutes

Three Pastorales

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tenor, oboe, English horn

These three songs use as their lyrics poems from James Joyce's Chamber Music. The three voices are treated equally and contrapuntally. This performance of the first two songs is by Dennis Altizer, tenor, Kurt Studier, oboe, and Lucy Beth Kruger, English horn.

Duration: 5 minutes

Winter Rain

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mezzo soprano and piano

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These four short songs were written on poems by Emily Hastings, herself a wonderful mezzo, who can be heard below in the excerpts from "The Girl on the Via Flaminia." They speak of one woman's passionate love of another. The performance is by Phyllis Fay Farmer accompanied by Martha Wade.

Duration: 10 minutes

Chorus
Bright is the Ring

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SATB

"Bright is the Ring" is an arrangement for SATB of the last movement of "The Ring of Words" (see below). The sound file is a MIDI realization.

Duration: 2 minutes

Embrace the Grace

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SATB and Harp

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This Christmas carol has lyrics by Leah Maddrie. It is celebratory and speaks to the season without being overly religious, making it suitable for concert, community, or religious performances. The harp accompaniment makes it a natural to pair with Britten's Ceremony of Carols. The sound file is a MIDI realization.

Duration: 3 minutes

Embrace the Grace

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SATB

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A simpler arrangement for chorus alone. A piano reduction is provided for rehearsals. The sound file is a MIDI realization.

Duration: 3 minutes

The Ring of Words

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TTBB with 3 horns and bassoon

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Written on poems from Robert Louis Stevenson's Songs of Travel, these four choruses reflect on different experiences in a man's life. In the first, he awakes with his lover in his arms; the second contemplates the fragility of life, whereas in the third he has an encounter with a young man who might be his son. It concludes with a paean to the power of poetry to survive even after the poet is gone.

There is an alternate version accompanied by organ.

The Ring of Words was the winner in a composition contest sponsored by the Windy City Gay Chorus. Excerpts from the premiere performance by WCGC under the direction of Alan Wellman can be heard through the first link at the left (second link is to a MIDI file of the complete organ version).

Duration: 10 minutes

Wanderers Nachtlieder

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SATB These two choruses on poems by J.W. von Goethe are written in an Expresionistic style and suitable for solo voices or medium sized chorus.

Duration: 3 minutes

Opera
All Are Not Frogs Who Gape for Flies lyric soprano; oboe, clarinet; trumpet, trombone; percussion; harpsichord; violin, violoncello, contrabass

"All Are Not Frogs..." is a farce based on the Commedia dell'Arte and the conventions of classical opera. The plot concerns an old man's wooing of his pretty young maid. She, of course, has already set her mind on the capture of the handsome valet, who - in turn - is thoroughly infatuated with a colorful opera singer. Everyone has his/her own scheme to be the victor in this rectangular affaire del coure.

The typically convoluted Commedia plot is further complicated when only one of the singers schedule to perform the opera (Gelsominia) arrives at the theatre. Rather than disappoint the audience, Gelsominia performs all four roles herself, using the Commedia masks and a trunkfull of props in a tour de force for the soprano. Libretto by the composer.

There is an alternate orchestration is available for piano and harpsichord available.

This excerpt is from the first scene and is sung by Susan Janes Ryan.

Duration: 30 minutes

The Girl on the Via Flaminia Lisa (mezzo soprano), Robert (baritone), Ugo (tenor), Policeman (small speaking part (baritone))

1(picc.):1(e.hn.):1(b.cl.):1/1 perc, pn, hp/strings (4:0:2:4:2) (strings maybe doubled in a large house)

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In this one-act opera, Lisa, a young Italian woman from a village on the coast, has been reduced to prostitution in the final years of World War II in Rome. Robert, an American soldier, seeking some sort of domestic situation, arranges for her to live with him, posing as his wife. Ugo, their landlord, immediately understands the situation, but allows them to stay, believing this is better for Lisa than life on the street. Robert finds that he is falling in love with Lisa, but she resists any emotional involvement.

Their relationship begins to improve until one evening a policeman, called by a disturbance in another apartment, arrives. He inquires into their situation and without any proof of marriage gives Lisa a summons to appear in court to be registered as a prostitute. Robert promises to take her away from Rome. The next day while Robert is out making preparations to move, Lisa, unable to face the shame of being branded a prostitute, runs from the apartment and throws herself in the Tiber. Robert returns moments too late and is devastated by her action. Ugo utters a final comment on the life the Americans have brought to Rome.

The libretto is by Elsa Rael based on the novel by Alfred Hays. The 2 excerpts here are from scene 3. In the first, Lisa is deciding whether to stay with Robert or leave while she can. In the second, she is finishing a memory about her childhood and Robert offers to take her back to that small town. The singers in the excerpts are Emily Hastings and Ron Edwards, who are accompanied by Dale Johnson.

Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes.

The music excerpt above is from "The House Upon the Rocks," part of Monongahela Rising, lyrics by Leah Maddrie.