A cycle for soprano and piano

I. Why I Write This Book II. Childhood III. Adolescence IV. Greenwich Village V. Marriage... Divorce VI. Work VII. Art (Life is Love...) VIII. The Present

Soprano, piano

Text: Brenda Ueland

Duration: 37 minutes

Commissioned By:
The Schubert Club, in honor of Margaret Wurtele

November, 1987 by Benita Valente, soprano, and Cynthia Raim, piano, at the Ordway Music Theatre, St. Paul, MN

Available From:
Oxford University Press, distributed by Edition Peters

Composer's Notes:
When a song cycle drawn from Brenda Ueland’s 1938 autobiography ME was suggested to me by Bruce Carlson, director of the Schubert Club of St. Paul, I was challenged to draw conclusions about this perplexing woman and make musical sense of her life. Ueland lived most of her life near Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was a woman of fiery, if not disciplined, personality. Like her heroes -- Ibsen, Van Gogh, and Blake—she had a passion for daily life and found a vitality and essence in the hours of a day. She was rhapsodic about walking, passionate about the sky, moon, and stars, and instilled a reverent sense of dignified passion and art in what some toss-pots and cynics might call “ordinary life.” Her biography is not particularly different from anyone else’s biography, consisting of those events which seem insignificant (a first memory, a first dance, a period of youthful rebellion, a walk with a beloved parent) but are really the most important things that happen to us in life. These are the experiences which form our substance. Ueland’s gist is to conform in us the true art into which we are all born, the art of living. In the eight songs comprising ME (Brenda Ueland), I have chosen episodes which capture Brenda’s passion, lyricism, optimism, and buccaneer spirit. “Memento vivere” was her motto—“Remember to live.” I have tried to share her motto with you.

— Libby Larsen
To rent this piece, please visit C.F. Peters.

Score Errata:
General - Octaves hold for the specific octave and bar only
songs 2 and 7, piano: S.P. denotes the middle pedal, the sostenuto pedal.
song 7 - m66 - eighth note = 100
page 4 - m13 - Piano RH upper, 4th beat should be G not F
page 4 - m19 - Piano LH, 4th beat chord should be C/E, cut the A
page 4 - m21 - Piano LH, beat 2, low note is G played as grace note
page 5 - m27 - Piano RH, beat 4, grace note should be a D
page 6 - m46 - Piano RH, grace note should be down and octave
page 9 - m25 - Piano RH, last note in first set of triplets should be a G
page 9 - m 29 - replace "poco" with "tenuto," "mf" dynamic in piano should be "p"
page 20 - m7 - Piano LH, beat 2 and 3 should be 8va
page 31 - m27 - Piano RH, remove tie from top note of 2nd chord to top note of 3rd chord
page 32 - m38 - Piano RH, last chord, top note should be D#
page 32 - m39 - Piano RH, beat 3, top note should be D#
page 33 - m41 - soprano, half note should be Fnat
page 33 - m43 - Piano RH, beat 4, top note should be G#
page 43 - m45 - Piano RH, last note should be Eb
page 45 - m12 - Piano RH, beat 3, upper note should should be Db
page 52 - m91 - Piano LH, beat 2, bottom note should be F
page 52 - m98 - Piano LH, top note should be Ab
page 57 - m22 - Piano LH, third notes of triplet should be A
page 64 - m79 - Piano RH, add F to first chord
page 64 - m87 - Piano RH, first chord, upper note should be C not B
page 64 -m91 - Piano RH, uppernote should be E
page 73 - m3 - Piano LH, beat 1, lowest note should be Eb
page 76 - m32 - Piano LH, beat 2, second note should be Eb
page 78 - m61 - Piano LH, don't play last A-flat