10 Songs for Soprano or Mezzo Soprano and Piano on poems by Walter de la Mare
Songs based on wonderful children’s poetry by the great English poet, Walter de la Mare. These may be sung together as a full set of 10, or pick whichever ones appeal to you.
Here are soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw and pianist Sharon Johnson, who premiered this cycle.
Monodrama for Soprano or Mezzo Soprano and Piano on a Libretto by Caitlin Vincent
Written as a gift for admired English mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately, Godiva is based on the legendary Lady Godiva, and sets a libretto by Caitlin Vincent in which Godiva speaks her own truth, correcting a thousand years of history written by men.
Kitty Whately premiered Godiva on September 27, 2019 at the Beverley Chamber Music Festival in Yorkshire, UK, with pianist Libby Burgess. Whately later performed Godiva at England’s Theatrebarn, at the 2019 Oxford Lieder Festival, and again at the end of 2020 in a recital at London’s Wigmore Hall, all three with pianist Simon Lepper. American mezzo-soprano Loralee Songer and pianist Perry Mears performed the U.S. premiere on October 14, 2019 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
Here are Kitty Whately and pianist Joseph Middleton in Godiva.
Song for Soprano and Piano on a poem by Kathleen Kelly
Renowned pianist, opera coach, conductor, teacher, and writer Kathleen Kelly commissioned composer Juliana Hall to set her poem “Tornado” as an art song, which was premiered by soprano Caitlin Lynch with Kelly at the piano, on a program of the Detroit Song Collective at The Scarab Club in Detroit, Michigan on October 26, 2019. Kelly, in a blog post, shared how Hall had found the “humor, sexiness, and allure” inside of the poem, despite its many “images of terror and fear.” Both performers described the song as an “exhilarating ride” that is “fabulous!”
Unfortunately, there is no recording of Tornado to share, but please do take a look to see if Tornado might be a song for you!
Canticle for Countertenor and Piano on the Story of the Nativity from the Biblical Gospel of Luke
And It Came to Pass is a canticle (a musical setting of a Biblical text, in this case from the Gospel of Luke) designed like a triptych painting, but in music, in which the “left panel” or Prologue of the piece proclaims the promise of a Savior who will bring peace; the “center panel”—the body of the work—shares the story of the birth of this Savior, Jesus; and the “right panel” or Epilogue of the piece confirms that the speaker has now seen that salvation, that with the holy birth the promise has been fulfilled.
This piece was first performed as part of a Christmas season “Ceremony of Carols” celebration service and, as such, was initially conceived for use in a religious service; it could also, however, be successfully performed within a concert setting, as it is a work of musical storytelling. Here is countertenor Charles Humphries, with the composer at the piano.
Monodrama for Unaccompanied Mezzo Soprano on texts by Caitlin Vincent
Commissioned by singer and librettist Caitlin Vincent (also author of the lyrics), in Sentiment, Vincent explains, “The general premise is emotions but also about the version of ourselves we try to present to the world. Each song leads into the next: giddy happiness followed by the inevitable plunge into depression, then anger and embarrassment for revealing too much to the audience, remorse for lashing out, and finally a plea for the world to see only the singer’s ‘best’ side.”.
As there is no recording of this mezzo soprano version of Sentiment, here is a recording by soprano Laura Strickling, who premiered this work and for whom it was written; however, this mezzo version of Sentiment has been re-written from the soprano version so it will differ in spots from the soprano version provided here.
Monodrama for Unaccompanied Soprano on texts by Caitlin Vincent
Commissioned by singer and librettist Caitlin Vincent (also author of the lyrics), in Sentiment, Vincent explains, “The general premise is emotions but also about the version of ourselves we try to present to the world. Each song leads into the next: giddy happiness followed by the inevitable plunge into depression, then anger and embarrassment for revealing too much to the audience, remorse for lashing out, and finally a plea for the world to see only the singer’s ‘best’ side.”. Here is a recording by soprano Laura Strickling, who premiered this work and for whom it was written.
Setting for Baritone and Piano of the sonnet by Emma Lazarus
Commissioned by bass baritone Simon Chalifoux, The New Colossus sets the iconic text by American poet Emma Lazarus. Here is a recording with baritone Phillip Cheah and pianist Trudy Chan.
5 Songs for Mezzo Soprano and Piano, on poems by Margaret Widdemer
Commissioned by the Seattle Art Song Society, and written as a gift for the beautiful mezzo soprano Clara Osowski (with whom I premiered the cycle), Through the Guarded Gate sets social justice poetry by Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Margaret Widdemer, who shared the prize with Carl Sandburg in 1919. Widdemer’s texts are modern, and touch upon topics that still, a century after their creation, are relevant today. Here is a recording with mezzo Clara Osowski and myself at the piano.
7 Songs for Contralto and Piano, on poems by James Joyce
Written as a gift for the wonderful mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe, who requested that I compose the work as a cycle for the contralto voice. Here is a recording, performed by Stephanie Blythe and pianist Alan Louis Smith at the 2018 Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, of the song At That Hour When All Things Have Repose, from the cycle.