Four Poems of A. R. Ammons

for Baritone and Six Instruments

Steven Stucky

Performing Ensemble: Voice and Instrument
Text: A.R. Ammons
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

A.R. Ammons, my colleague and friend at Cornell University, was born in Whiteville, North Carolina. Winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bollingen Prize, a MacArthur Prize, and countless other honors, he received his second National Book Award in 1993 for the book-length poem "Garbage". When he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for 1981 for "Lake Country Effect", the citation described Archie Ammons as standing ?in the tradition of Wordsworth, Emerson, and Whitman,? creating poetry ?remarkable for its radiant density of argument and feeling.?

In 1991 the Koussevitzky Music Foundation commissioned me to write a new chamber work for the Society for New Music. With Sanford Sylvan?s beautiful interpretations of new works by Adams and Harbison ringing in my ear, I decided to satisfy the commission with a song cycle for baritone. It was only after I had read hundreds of poems by other American poets that I realized that Ammons is, in fact, my favorite poet, and I returned with pleasure to his words as a source of inspiration and nourishment for my music.

The dark, even romantic ensemble of baritone and six mostly low instruments came first; the poems, all dealing with death, were chosen to fit the sound world I imagined for that ensemble. The first, second, and fourth poems date from the 1950s and can be found in the "Collected Poems, 1951-1971"; ?Songlet? is recent. I completed the music on 30 November 1992; the first performance was given in Syracuse on 28 March 1993 by baritone William Black, with the Society for New Music conducted by Edward Murray.

Available on Rental

Scores & Parts

Four Poems of A. R. Ammons - Full Score - Large

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation for the Society for New Music.
Composition Date 1992
Duration 00:16:00
Orchestration Fl. Cl. Hn. Vla. Vcl. Cb. Bar.
Premiere 28th March, 1993. William Black, Baritone, Society for New Music, conducted by Edward Murray, Syracuse, New York.

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