Songs of My Aims
for Soprano and Piano
for Jillian Boye
Text by Walt Whitman
I. Germs - Referencing the idea of small details making up larger formations, as expressed in the Whitman poem, I created a brief gesture made of cascading pitches. This gesture progresses throughout the work and varies texturally and harmonically.
II. Voices - This song features flourishes of arpeggios and flowing triplets signifying the joy expressed by the poem’s narrator.
III. When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer - The narrator of this poem was not swayed by the lecturer’s sterile and purely academic approach to astronomy, but instead found wonder in the stars by simply gazing upward. This song begins with alternating couplings of fourths and fifths in the highest register of the piano, depicting the uninspiring calculations of the lecturer. Bell-like gestures mark a return to a more awe-inspiring and sincere fascination of the stars.
IV. Thoughts - This final song conveys a musical sense of finality expressed in tits text. Utilizing quartal and quintal sonorities, this song takes on a patient and passive quality. As the narrator of the poem alludes to mortality, then finally states “Death,” the music becomes more chromatic, creating tense agitation. The passive quality returns quickly, however, and the work gently comes to a close.
Jillian Boye, Soprano
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Le Petit Trianon, San Jose, Ca.
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