Performed by faculty and student ensembles
at the University of Iowa, School of Music.
Lawrence Fritts Monsterology, Musicometry Michael Eckert Echo's Song, Point of No Return David Gompper Kuta Muela, An Elm We Lost
2007 Albany Records (TROY900)
An Elm We Lost
for tenor, baritone, SATB chorus and orchestra
An Elm We Lost, written during the summer of 2002 in various locations including Sion, Vienna and Banff, was a commission from the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
I incorporate two texts by Marvin Bell, poet laureate for the state of Iowa: An Elm We Lost and Catalog with Illustrations.
The former poem creates a structural framework, and the latter is embedded into the middle of the composition, as a reflection--a moment in time--and sung by the two soloists. In setting the poem, I took Marvin's haiku, fragmented the lines and presented the textural phrases starting at the end. My composition is a threnody--a lamentation--intended to commemorate the first anniversary of the events of 11 September 2001. This is reflected in the music by step-wise descending thirds, a spondaic rhythm (long-long) in the coda with a further fragmentation of the poem, presenting only the nouns and verbs, sung as a hocket in turn by the two soloists and chorus.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Beverly Everett, who suggested the initial idea of the work, its instrumentation, leading to its eventual commission.
-St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square, NYC, May 18, 2012
(The Riverside Choral Society, Patrick Gardner, conductor)
-University of Iowa, February 19, 2012
-Rutgers University, November 6, 2009
-University of Iowa, April 15, 2005
-Muscatine, Iowa, November 15, 2003
-Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, September 11, 2002
An Elm We Lost
On it we wrote a little essay
about who loved who.
Shade moves in the grass, never still,
and they still do.
Catalog with Illustrations
The beauty of an old desk blotter where ink stains grew into the shapes of ships
in a turbulent ocean,
and the ticking of the clock in the sunlight thickened by dust.
The clacking of the typewriter keys, the big zipper sound of the carriage return,
and the sound of the struck bell muffled in the drapes.
The air was rich with time, when there was still time.
The letter ripened slowly in the typewriter.
The minute hand took a second to move one digit.
Under the glass that covered the desktop, a map and family photos.