12 SONGS FOR SOPRANO, MEZZO-SOPRANO, OR TENOR AND PIANO by EMILY DICKINSON
I’ve returned to one of my “core” poets, Emily Dickinson, to write a dozen new songs as a collection called Setting Sail. When I studied with Dominick Argento back in 1987 and 1988, he used to joke with me that I would one day set every single poem Emily wrote, so I am dedicating this collection to the loving memory of Dominick Argento with gratitude for his mentorship and, later, his friendship. Here are the poems I’ve made songs out of, beautiful poems of real substance.
The wonderful soprano Maggie Finnegan will be coming to northern Connecticut at the end of July to make a recording of these new songs at the Hartt School of Music recording studio. I cannot thank Maggie enough for sharing her immense talent with me to make these recordings a reality!
I am hopeful that my publisher, E. C. Schirmer, will be able to publish these songs in early Fall, at the same time the recordings are made available online.
SETTING FOR TENOR AND PIANO OF THE POEM IN 8 PARTS BY WALT WHITMAN
I’m thrilled and honored to have had the opportunity to compose a work for the great American tenor, Anthony Dean Griffey, a very large (18 min.) single-movement setting of the Walt Whitman poem The Mystic Trumpeter.
In my more than 30 years of composing, I had never been drawn to Whitman as so many other composers have been, but I thought I would go through his poems just “one last time” in my search for the perfect text for Tony to sing. Lo and behold, the moment I laid eyes on The Mystic Trumpeter, electricity went down my back and I knew this was the text.
I’m hopeful The Mystic Trumpeter will be premiered during the 2022-2023 concert season, with the wonderful pianist Warren Jones performing on piano.
Walt Whitman Archive: The Kansas Magazine
Walt Whitman Archive: The Mystic Trumpeter, February 1872