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Viewing entries tagged
Songs

A PRAYER

A PRAYER

A PRAYER

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poem by: Clementine Von Radics

Duration: 5 minutes

Composed: 2016

Premiere: May 25, 2016 by Melody Moore (soprano) and Robert Mollicone (piano) at Carnegie Hall, NYC


Clementine Von Radics’ “A Prayer” gave me chills the first time I read it, and every time since. When Melody Moore asked me to set the text for her 2016 Carnegie Hall debut, I wanted to write something that would let the fragile tenderness of the poem speak, and give Melody room to do what she does so, so beautifully. Recording this song with her (on the album: The Tell-Tale Heart) was incredibly special for us both.


Recordings of A Prayer:

 
The Tell-Tale Heart.jpg
 

Read Clementine’s gorgeous poetry!

Please consider buying this exquisite collection of Clementine’s poems (including A Prayer) from your local bookstore. Otherwise, get it on Amazon:

BUT NOT TO ME

BUT NOT TO ME

BUT NOT TO ME

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poem by: Sara Teasdale

Duration: 5 minutes

Composed: 2015

Commissioned by: SubCulture Arts Underground, New York

Premiere: April 28, 2015 by Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor at SubCulture New York


Sara Teasdale’s poem is a perfect expression of the pain of unrequited love. There is great beauty in its quiet resignation – all the more poignant because it’s so gently stated.


poem:
The April night is still and sweet
With flowers on every tree; 
Peace comes to them on quiet feet, 
But not to me.

My peace is hidden in his breast
Where I shall never be; 
Love comes to-night to all the rest, 
But not to me.


Recordings of But Not To Me:

 
 

CRANE SONGS

CRANE SONGS

CRANE SONGS 

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poems by: Stephen Crane

Duration: 7 minutes

Composed: 2015

Commissioned by: SubCulture Arts Underground, New York

Premiere: April 28, 2015 by Matthew Worth (baritone), Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano), and Gregg Kallor at SubCulture New York


Stephen Crane is a great storyteller. He’s probably best known for his Civil War novel, “The Red Badge of Courage,” and he brings the same keen observer’s eye to his sharp poems. These songs paints scenes in which the narrator experiences something a shocking, reflects, and responds – with empathy, and calm swagger.


Crane Songs:

  1. A man said to the universe

  2. In the desert

  3. I saw a man pursuing the horizon

  4. Think as I think


Recordings of Crane Songs:

 
 

EXHILARATION - Emily Dickinson songs

EXHILARATION - Emily Dickinson songs

EXHILARATION - Emily Dickinson songs

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poems by: Emily Dickinson

Duration: 20 minutes

Composed: 2006

Premiere: March 20, 2007 by Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City


MY BUSINESS IS TO SING! Emily Dickinson once wrote; what she sings of is the exhilaration of being alive.

In It bloomed and dropt, Dickinson mourns the loss of a single "noon," a metaphor for "the instantaneous, arrested present... when all accident, or 'grossness,' is discarded and there is nothing but essence."* It isn't the passage of time that she regrets, but the lost opportunity to inhale more deeply the intoxicating ether of experience. For the poet who "would eat evanescence slowly," the moment is everything.

And it is the moment to which she so compellingly calls our attention - the rapture of those first precious moments of spring, the frenzied urge of sexual yearning, the anguish of watching a beloved die. She illuminates these fleeting sensations with exquisite nuance, urging us to savor them before they vanish forever.

"Let Emily sing for you because she cannot pray," she wrote to her grieving cousins after their father died. A poem, for her, was no mere abstraction, but a vital force - a prayer, a comfort, an inspiration. She felt impelled to let others hear the "noiseless noise in the Orchard" and her poems incite us to seek that noise - that essence - ourselves. "Exhilaration," she tells us, "is within."

Emily Dickinson once asked, “Do I paint it natural?” I have tried to preserve, as much as possible, the unique voice of this extraordinary poet. I hope these songs paint it natural.

* from Richard Sewall’s excellent biography, “The Life of Emily Dickinson” (Harvard University Press, 2003)


Exhilaration - Emily Dickinson songs:

  1. Exhilaration is the Breeze

  2. It bloomed and dropt, a Single Noon -

  3. Bee! I'm expecting you!

  4. We Cover Thee - Sweet Face -

  5. Wild Nights - Wild Nights!

  6. What Inn is this

  7. I should not dare to leave my friend

  8. Still own thee - still thou art -

  9. Exhilaration - is within -


Recordings of Exhilaration:

 
 

LITTLE ELEGY

LITTLE ELEGY

LITTLE ELEGY

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poem by: Elinor Wylie

Duration: 2 minutes

Composed: 2015

Commissioned by: SubCulture Arts Underground, New York

Premiere: April 28, 2015 by Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor at SubCulture New York


poem:
Without you
No rose can grow; 
No leaf be green
If never seen
Your sweetest face; 
No bird have grace
Or power to sing; 
Or anything
Be kind, or fair, 
And you nowhere.


Recordings of Little Elegy:

 
 

LULLABY

LULLABY

LULLABY

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Lyrics by: Herschel Garfein

Duration: 3 minutes

Composed: 2005


Lullaby is a musical kiss to a life just beginning. Herschel Garfein’s beautiful lyrics are a celebration of love and life, and the promise of tomorrow.


Recordings of Lullaby:

 
 

ONE CHILD

ONE CHILD

ONE CHILD

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Lyrics by: Sara Cooper

Duration: 4 minutes

Composed: 2014


I'm deeply honored to have been invited to compose this song for An AIDS QUILT Songbook: Sing for Hope. The album features new songs by American composers, performed by an all-star roster of musicians – including Joyce DiDonato, Jamie Barton, Sasha Cooke, Isabel Leonard, Sean Pannikar, Susanna Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill, actors Sharon Stone and Ansel Elgort, and many more. It was a privilege to record One Child with soprano Melody Moore, and to be a part of this extraordinary project. All profits from the sale of this album go to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.


Recordings of One Child:

 
 

Journal of Singing.jpg

"Among the brand new songs created expressly for this recording is "One Child," featuring beautiful lyrics by Sara Cooper that point to the promising possibility of a child surviving AIDS and ushering in a new era of health and well-being where once there was so much death and suffering. The poet asks "Is this the moment? Is this the time? Is this when we leave it all behind us? When soon only whispers will remind us of those awful scorching decades that took so many lives." Gregg Kallor has set these lyrics with utmost care, with gentle dissonance that perfectly captures the longing of the text. Soprano Melody Moore's singing is exemplary for its beauty and clarity."

Journal of Singing

SONG

SONG

SONG

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poem by: Christina Rossetti

Duration: 3 minutes

Composed: 2007

Premiere: October 26, 2008 by Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor at the Housing Works Bookstore in New York City


Song is a love letter at life’s end'; there’s no fear or regret, only words of comfort for the one who remains.


poem:
When I am dead, my dearest, 
Sing no sad songs for me; 
Plant thou no roses at my head, 
Nor shady cypress tree: 
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet; 
And if thou wilt, remember, 
And if thou wilt, forget.


I shall not see the shadows, 
I shall not feel the rain; 
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain: 
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set, 
Haply I may remember, 
And haply may forget.


Recordings of Song:

 
 

WARM SUMMER SUN

WARM SUMMER SUN

WARM SUMMER SUN

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poem by: Robert Richardson, adapted by Mark Twain

Duration: 2 minutes

Composed: 2015

Commissioned by: SubCulture Arts Underground, New York

Premiere: April 28, 2015 by Matthew Worth (baritone), Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor at SubCulture New York


Warm Summer Sun is a setting of Mark Twain’s adaptation of the final stanza of Robert Richardson’s Annette, which Twain transformed into a beautiful lullaby for the headstone of his recently deceased daughter.


poem:
Warm summer sun, 
Shine kindly here, 
Warm southern wind, 
Blow softly here. 
Green sod above, 
Lie light, lie light. 
Good night, dear heart, 
Good night, good night.


Recordings of Warm Summer Sun:

 
 

THE WIND

THE WIND

THE WIND

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poem by: Sara Teasdale

Duration: 3 minutes

Composed: 2015

Commissioned by: SubCulture Arts Underground, New York

Premiere: April 28, 2015 at SubCulture New York by Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor


poem:
A wind is blowing over my soul, 
I hear it cry the whole night through -- 
Is there no peace for me on earth
Except with you?

Alas, the wind has made me wise, 
Over my naked soul it blew, -- 
There is no peace for me on earth
Even with you.


Recordings of The Wind:

 
 

YEATS SONGS

YEATS SONGS

YEATS SONGS

Instrumentation: voice and piano

Poems by: William Butler Yeats

Duration: 18 minutes

Composed: 2007, 2015

Premiere: March 20, 2007 by Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City

*The Mermaid premiere: April 28, 2015 by Adriana Zabala (mezzo-soprano) and Gregg Kallor at SubCulture New York

*When You Are Old premiere: April 28, 2015 by Matthew Worth (baritone) and Gregg Kallor at SubCulture New York


William Butler Yeats’ lilting rhythms and gorgeous language – the very sounds of his words – are captivating, but it’s the immediacy of his poems that I find so moving. He navigates fluidly between towering pride and self-effacement – shouting, whispering, cajoling, imploring, and enthralling with a storyteller’s magic. One of the things I love about Yeats is that he’s so confident and bold in one poem, and then so completely vulnerable in the next.

Yeats rhapsodizes with sublime arrogance about the moment of creative inspiration in Ribh In Ecstasy, likening his creative prowess to the earth-shattering orgy of gods spawning new gods. Then, as suddenly as it comes, the moment passes, and he leaves us in literary post-coital bliss.

In He Wishes for the Cloths of heaven, Yeats gives us an exquisitely tender expression of love that breaks my heart every time I read it. He writes:

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

The songs in this set are grouped in pairs that highlight these two sides of Yeats’ poetry. And it ends, as all cycles should, with a drinking song. Cheers.


Yeats Songs:

  1. Ribh In Ecstasy

  2. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

  3. The Lady's First Song

  4. The Mermaid

  5. A Coat

  6. When You Are Old

  7. A Drunken Man's Praise of Sobriety


Recordings of Yeats Songs: