Leaves of Grass (2007), a song cycle on poetry of Walt Whitman, for Baritone and Piano
Published by Classical Vocal Reprints; Dur: 17:20
I. From Song of Myself
II. Hast Never Come to Thee an Hour
III. I hear and behold God…
IV. Gliding o’er All
V. I believe a leaf of grass…
The project was initiated by the festival of celebration of the anniversary of the publication of the Whitman collection, Leaves of Grass. The festival took place on the campus of Central Connecticut State University in September 2005. Two songs from the cycle were presented then, and were composed during the summer months of 2005. The completed work of five songs was premiered at CCSU in 2007. The piece was a finalist in the 2008 Art Song Competition of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
I have previously set only one other Whitman poem, and that was part of a set of pieces for Tenor, Bassoon and Chamber Orchestra and included poetry by Emily Dickinson, Louis Simpson and Robert Frost. I must say that Whitman’s poetry is not easy to commit to a musical setting. One must search for the right material, such that it can be enhanced by the music in some way, and the strong declamatory tone often resists musical presentation. I do think that these selected poems benefit from the musical partnership, and I hope that the presentation honors the written word.
This work is available through Classical Vocal Reprints. CVR 4113, $15.00.