Looking at Eachother Clinging Dirty No Gooder Blues Dear Love At April
SATB chorus, piano
Commissioned by Winchester Musica Viva, Winchester, Virginia, Dr. Kenneth Nafziger, music director, for their 16th concert season, May 1997
May 17, 1997 by Winchester Musica Viva, Dr. Kenneth J. Nafziger, conductor, in Winchester, VA
OUP #9780193861336, distributed through Goodmusic Publishing.
Description of LOVE SONGS
Love Songs is a five part work for chamber voices, contrabass, ride cymbal and piano based on love poems by contemporary American women poets, Muriel Rukeyser, Jeanne Shepard, Bessie Smith, Willa Cather and Angelina Weld Grimke. I chose this poetry for three reasons. First, it is great poetry. Second, it is American English as it is spoken in this century. Third, it will contrast and foil the poetry of Johannes Brahms' Gypsy Songs. Love Songs will be 20 minutes long. The music will explore the melody, rhythm, articulations and resulting form of American English.
How Love Songs will reach out to audiences beyond those usual for new music
Love Songs will be premiered by Winchester Musica Viva, Winchester, Virginia. This group performs for audiences who describe repertoire in terms of Mozart and Haydn and describe new work as marginal to their expected repertoire. I am certain that the bulk of Winchester Musica Viva's audience is not the usual for new music. In addition, I intend that Love Songs become part of the choral repertoire of late 20th century choral works. In this capacity, it will more often be performed in the context described above than in the usual new music context.
Program Note from Libby Larsen
Unlike Sonnets from the Portuguese, which were about lyrical romanticized love written in Victorian English, Love Songs are an exploration of contemporary love written by expert literary word crafters in contemporary American English. What this means is that the lyric writing is much more percussive and witty, and should be performed with special attention to the articulation, dynamics, and the consonants of the text.
Libby Larsen September 27, 2002