V e r s e s   f o r   P i c t u r e s

Premiere
November 19th, 2012
Katzin Recital Hall, Tempe, AZ
Eric Thomson, tenor / Zhou Jiang, piano

Instrumentation
tenor and piano

Duration
9'

Text
                                  Day

I am Day; I bring again
Life and glory, Love and pain:
Awake, arise! from death to death
Through me the World's tale quickeneth.

Spring

Spring am I, too soft of heart
Much to speak ere I depart:
Ask the Summer-tide to prove
The abundance of my love.

Summer

Summer looked for long am I;
Much shall change or e'er I die.
Prithee take it not amiss
Though I weary thee with bliss.

               

Autumn

Laden Autumn here I stand
Worn of heart, and weak of hand:
Nought but rest seems good to me,
Speak the word that sets me free.

Winter

I am Winter, that do keep
Longing safe amidst of sleep;
Who shall say if I were dead
What should be remembered?

Night

I am Night: I bring again
Hope of pleasure, rest from pain:
Thoughts unsaid 'twixt Life and Death
My fruitful silence quickeneth.

                                              

(William Morris 1834 - 1896)

Program Note

Verses for Pictures is a setting of six short poems by English poet William Morris (1834 - 1896).  Instead of dividing the piece into six short movements, I opted to set all of the text as a single song divided into three over-arching sections that are woven together.  The first section incorporates the text from Day and Spring in a light, bright style that evokes (in my mind at least) feelings of open spring air.  The second section features a driving pulse and rhythmic syncopation as the piano and tenor play off on another; whiling away as the seasons Summer, Autumn, and Winter pass by them almost without notice.  The last section is a rolling - almost pastoral - ballad in which the tenor reflects on the text from Night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Joshua Jandreau, 2012

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