I. The river is . . . (text: Joyce Sutphen) II. Where the river bent (text: Joyce Sutphen) III. Raspberry Island (text: Patricia Hampl)

Mezzo-soprano, piano

Text: Joyce Sutphen, Patricia Hampl

Duration: 15 minutes

Commissioned By:
Composed for the inaugural concert of the Raspberry Island Bandshell, on September 8, 2002, Raspberry Island, below the Wabasha Street Bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota

September 8, 2002 by Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Andreas Delfs, conductor

Available From:
Libby Larsen Publishing

Composer's Notes:
Raspberry Island Dreaming, three songs about the Mississippi River, is part of a much larger dream which was born in the heart and mind of Bruce Carlson, director of the Schubert Club. Bruce looked at Raspberry Island, a snippet of land below the Wabasha Bridge in downtown Saint Paul, and as it seems to me, he fell in love with it. He’s not the first. Navigators, voyageurs, poets, painters, but mostly just ordinary people have all fallen in love with this little place. Maybe it’s because the island is so small and the river is, as Joyce Sutphen tells us in her poem, “all dreams we ever dreamed.” Or maybe it’s because in the midst of the bustling metropolis and through all manner of raging weather, the island is constant and quiet. But this time, when Bruce Carlson fell in love with Raspberry Island, he gathered his friends around and had architect James Carpenter create a lovely glass bandshell on the island so that people can continue to gather there and listen to music. Then he asked writers Patricia Hampl and Joyce Sutphen for prose and poetry about the river, and he invited me to compose songs on their words to celebrate the opening of the bandshell. We are happy to offer these three songs—The river is . . . , Where the river bent, and Raspberry Island Dreaming—to all the dreams of the river.

The first concert at the Raspberry Island bandshell takes place on Sunday, September 8, 2002, at 3 p.m. and includes the performance of Raspberry Island Dreaming. I am honored that it is being sung by Frederica von Stade with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

— Libby Larsen, August 2002