Holy the Firm

James Primosch

Text: Denise Levertov , Susan Stewart , Annie Dillard , John Climacus
Duration: 21:00
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.

Sample Media

Media Icon
Holy the Firm · James Primosch · 21st Century

Quick Overview

Originally composed for soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Gilbert Kalish, Primosch arranged this song cycle for soprano and chamber ensemble to be premiered by Susan Narucki and the 21st Century Consort, Christopher Kendall, conductor. Drawing texts from the writings of three 20th-century American women and a seventh century Sinai desert monk for his luminous songs, "the poetic words are sensitively matched to music that evokes images of fire, Jacob’s ladder, an everyday god and deathbed sensations" (Wilma Salisbury, The Plain Dealer).

Joshua Rosenbaum wrote, in his Opera News review of the Bridge recording, that “Primosch’s text-setting instincts are seemingly unerring: his vocal lines always convey the words authentically and honestly, while the instrumental accompaniment provides added depth and drama…”

Scores & Parts

Holy The Firm - Score - Performance - Soprano, Piano

Additional Information

Commission Chamber ensemble version commissioned by the 20th Century Consort
Composition Date 1999
Orchestration Solo Sop.; Fl. (dbl. Picc.), Cl.(dbl. B.Cl.); 1Perc. Hp. Str.( or small ensemble)
Premiere December 2, 2000. Susan Narucki, soprano, 20th Century Consort, conducted by Christopher Kendall. Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC.


I. ‘...That Passeth All Understanding’ (Levertov)
II. Every Day is a God (Dillard)
III. The Ladder of Divine Ascent (Climacus)
IV. Cinder (Stewart)
V. Deathbeds (Dillard)

Score Preview