four songs

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I. “Verse on the Summertime Sidewalk” (Robert Desnos)
II. “Above the Dock” (T. E. Hulme)
III. “Little Elegy” (Elinor Wylie)
IV. “Echo’s Song” (Ben Jonson)

Instrumentation: high voice and piano
Duration: ca. 6′
Premiere: 3 July 1996, Max Aronoff Viola Institute (Olympia, Wash.)

Score available upon request.

Program Note:

This brief set of four songs dates from my student days at the Curtis Institute of Music. They represent a collection of at least twice as many, which have never seen the light of day (and rightly so!). Yet these four, for me, retain their youthful charms. Both “Little Elegy” and “Echo’s Song” were texts assigned to his students by Ned Rorem. The exercise was an annual one, in which we students would be given a poem, sent home overnight to set it in song, then gather the next morning to share the results of our evening’s labor. (The final fifteen minutes of the lesson were usually devoted to the revealing of the setting by the Master himself.) The other poems were found in various poetry collections, of which occasional perusals continue to be a favorite pastime.