6 Songs for Soprano and Piano

on Poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, and Edna St. Vincent Millay

E. C. Schirmer Music Company

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NIGHT DANCES shines a light on what night brings, from the sounds of a cricket singing to the image of a spider sewing a web, exploring the sounds and sensations of nightmare and insomnia, luxuriating in a lullaby bringing peace to a baby amid a storm at sea, and a final plea for music, that magic melody that soothes the soul, bringing with it rest and the peace of dreams.

1 – The cricket sang  (Emily Dickinson)
2 – Some Things Are Dark  (Edna St. Vincent Millay)
3 – Song  (Emily Brontë)
4 – Sleep, mourner, sleep!  (Emily Brontë)
5 – A Spider sewed at Night  (Emily Dickinson)
6 – Sonnet  (Elizabeth Bishop)

Vocal Range
G 3  :  B 5

13′ 00″

Vocal Tessitura
E 4  :  E 5

Schubert Club
Saint Paul, Minnesota

First Performance
December 8, 1987
McKnight Theatre
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Year of Composition

First Performers
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Margo Garrett, piano

“By the time [Dawn Upshaw] sang her encore Saturday at the Library of Congress…she had given a breathtaking display of virtuosity in ‘Night Dances,’ a brilliant cycle of songs…whose composer, 30-year-old Juliana Hall, used every trick in the book—melodic and half-spoken, tonal and nontonal…to deepen the impact of the texts dealing with night and sleep, to explore the implicit emotions in sounds that ranged from a whisper to a scream, with the piano supplying illustrations and comment and engaging in vivid dialogue.”

– Joseph McLellan
   The Washington Post

“The tonal language is adventurous, and Hall’s text setting is spot on and exquisite, even when she elevates the text to the vocal stratosphere…In these songs, as in all of Juliana Hall’s wonderful creations, the composer has sensitively allowed the text to dictate the tonal palette and direction.”

– Kathleen Roland-Silverstein
   NATS Journal of Singing

Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Margo Garrett, piano

1 – The Cricket sang

2 – Some Things Are Dark

3 – Song

4 – Sleep, mourner, sleep!

5 – A Spider sewed at Night

6 – Sonnet