ELEANOR ROOSEVELT


Subtitle:
A dramatic cantata based on her life and words

Libretto:
Sally Gall

Instrumentation:
2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, narrator, SATB chorus, clarinet, cello, piano, 2 percussion (choir members): [1 - maracas, finger cymbals, 5 tuned water goblets, marine band harmonica “C”], [2 - train whistle, triangle, hand drum, marine band harmonica “C”]

Duration: 34 minutes

Commissioned By:
New York Concert Singers with funding provided by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust

Premiere:
May 5, 1996 by the New York Concert Singers, Judith Clurman, conductor, at Merkin Hall, New York City, NY

Available From:
Oxford University Press, rented by C.F. Peters

Composer's Notes:
Eleanor Roosevelt was written for the New York Concert Singers, who premiered the work on May 5, 1996. This dramatic cantata, based on the life of Eleanor Roosevelt was the brainchild of New York Concert Singers’ director Judith Clurman. Her vision and passion for the subject are infectious and have propelled the two-year process of bringing the piece to life with enormous energy. Librettist Sally Gall has created a work in fourteen sections with a finale. The essence of Eleanor Roosevelt is represented in both speaking and singing voices and several singers take the role of Eleanor throughout the work. In each section, Eleanor speaks about circumstances which have shaped her life as a woman, a wife, public leader, and a tireless and fearless humanitarian. In the first two sections, she discusses her life as a young wife in the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother, Sara, and contrasts this life with her beautiful and peaceful retreat, Val-Kil. The following five sections reveal Eleanor in her public life, caught up in articulating the social conscience of her times. In each of the next six sections, Eleanor touches upon her personal relationships. The final section and finale are a moment of summation as Eleanor states that “many leaders and many peoples must do the building.” Throughout the piece the chorus assumes many roles: friends, crowds, (friendly or not), individuals, commentators. We’ve created a portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt, a piece based on the life of an important woman. I would personally like to thank the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust for their support.

— Libby Larsen

To rent this piece, please visit C.F. Peters.