High voice, piano

Text: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Duration: 2 minutes

Commissioned By:
Dedicated to the loving memory of our sister and friend, Lillian Vesely Brooke 1916-2011, Milwaukee Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota

Premiered August 3, 2012 by Martha Dodds Stoner, soprano, and Ann Patrick Green, piano, at the 2012 National Sigma Alpha Iota Convention

Available From:
Libby Larsen Publishing

Composer's Notes:
Lillian Brooke’s friends chose Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “First Fig” as representative of her special joie de vivre. They said: “We thought that Lillian would have thought about the candle burning at both ends being about the usual, being active and busy. We thought that Lillian was outspoken but graciously so. Independent, forthright and with a good sense of humor. She had integrity and was a steady, intelligent, hard-working woman who was very proud of her voice and music.” I know I would have liked her very much.

To capture the qualities her friends ascribed to her, I used two intervallic leaps of an octave (E-E and G-G) to suggest the two ends of the candle. To suggest the permanent impermanence of a candle flame, I based the harmonic motion on pedal tones of C-A-F, suggesting F major as the tonic, but realizing C major as the home key.

— Libby Larsen, 2012