Concerto for Voice and Chamber Ensemble

Completed on December 14th, 2010
Commissioned by Sarah Smith, soprano
Text by Leah Soderberg

Yet another collaboration with Arizona-based poet, Leah Soderberg.  She and I were approached by lyric soprano, Sarah Smith, after a reading session of our previous joint work Now, Innumerable.  The project was designed to initially to be a setting of one of Leah’s first post-graduation works that was specifically commissioned for this collaboration.  It was to be approximately 15 minutes long, focus on the strengths of Sarah’s voice, and include an ensemble selected from a list of instruments that Sarah and I had previously agreed upon.

Initially, I encouraged Leah to write a lot of poetry for the project, mostly to assist me in fighting my tendency to write pieces that only last  between 8 and 10 minutes.  As a result, Leah – whom also tends to write rather short works of poetry – ended up writing prose to fill that of six printed pages.  Much like Anton Webern’s approach to extending his own composition lengths, the use of Leah’s poetry worked brilliantly for the duration of the piece, reaching a stunning length of 32 minutes at tempo.

The piece spans six movements that encompass such ideas as sentimentality, lost love, and emotional development.  Rather than approach the text in a Germanic sort of way – each song is presented more like a quick story and the accompaniment plays extensively on the direct meaning of the words – I decided it would be more practical and important to focus on the mood: sadness, desire, sentimental, angry, hopeful; wanting the music to reflect these feelings while the text moves the story along.

Concerto for Voice and Chamber Ensemble


Score Readable PDF Score of Concerto for Voice and Chamber Ensemble

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Past Concerts

Sarah Smith, lyric soprano  

Date Venue City More
05/04/11 Knights of Pythias Lodge Sarah Smith, lyric soprano in Tempe, Arizona [+/-]