In Dark

for Soprano and Seven Players

Gerald Levinson

Performing Ensemble: Voice and Instrument
Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"in dark" was written in 1972 to two poems by Robert Lax and one by Nanine Valen, to whom the Lax poems had been written as post cards. In attempting to capture the various shades of nocturnal imagery in the poems I felt I reached a sort of musical coming of age; this was the most personal of my early pieces, my ?opus 1.? Its open, inclusive approach to musical color and materials, if not very much of its actual sound and style, has continued to form the basis of my subsequent musical explorations.

The piece is built in a five-part arch form. In the first and last movement s the wordless voice is used as one of the instruments in the ensemble. In the second and fourth movements (the two poems of Robert Lax) the voice emerges into song, extending the sparse syllables of the poetry into long traceries. The third movement is itself symmetrical, an instrumental scherzo framing the central poem (by Nanine Valen). Here the words, treated as pure speech, are themselves the music, blending with the instrumental sounds. However, the harmonic language partly offsets this symmetry. The first, second, and fifth movements are largely modal; the third movement unfolds as if in a chromatic mist, which in the following movement condenses into undulating clusters against the chromatic melody.

The distinctive choice of instruments results in a generally low, veiled ensemble sonority: the flute family is represented by alto and bass flutes, and the strings by viola and cello, surrounded by resonances of piano, harp, and metallic percussion. The result is a soft-edged, mysterious atmosphere somewhat reminiscent of Ravel?s "Trois po

Available on Rental

Scores & Parts

In Dark - Full Score - Study

Additional Information

Composition Date 1972
Duration 17:00
Orchestration Solo Sop.; 2Fl. Vla. Vcl. Perc. Pno. Hp.
Premiere May, 1972. Judith Westcott and ensemble, composer conducting; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA