Four Songs With Ensemble

Stephen Jaffe

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"Four Songs with Ensemble", are, as the title implies, a group of songs sharing common instrumentation. Although I was thinking more of a group of loosely related lieder than a song cycle, there is perhaps a natural progression to these texts and their music: from Martinson?s sea wind of the first song through the great depths of metaphorical ocean in Levertov?s beautiful poem, with two contrasting verses of Robert Francis, pastoral and autumnal in their imagery, interspersed. Francis? deceptively simple poems and my settings of them are a foil for the outer, more abstract songs, but are also my personal homage to this wonderful poet, whose images, rooted in and around the town of Amherst, Massachusetts (where I grew up), resonate strongly within me. Perhaps this reclusive poet of reserve might have enjoyed the was my group ends with Levertov, offering a poetic, rather than a dramatic climax to this set of four songs.

"Four Songs With Ensemble", for mezzo-soprano, alto flute doubling flute, viola, cello, and piano, was commissioned by the music festival An Appalachian Summer and the North Carolina Arts Council for the Broyhill Ensemble, who performed its premiere in July, 1988. The mezzo-soprano soloist was Katherine Ciesinski.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by An Appalachian Summer and the North Carolina Arts Council.
Composition Date 1988
Duration 00:21:00
Orchestration Mezzo-sop. Fl./A.Fl. Vla. Vcl. Pno.
Premiere July 24, 1988. Broyhill Ensemble, Katherine Ciesinksi, mezzo-soprano.


I The Sea Wind (Harry Martinson; trans. Robert Bly)
II On That Cool Plane (Robert Francis)
III His Running My Running (Robert Francis)
IV The Depths (Denise Levertov)