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1. All I could see (SATB)

2. Over these things (SATB)

1. All I could see (SATB)

2. Over these things (SATB)

3. I screamed, and lo! (TS)

4. I saw and heard (B)

5. And all the while (S with tenor)

6. A man was starving in Capri (A)

7. No hurt I did not feel (B)

8. Ah, awful weight! Infinity (T)

9. Long had I lain thus (SATB)

10. Deep in the earth (A with soprano)

11. The rain I said (SATB)

12. How can I bear it (S with tenor)

13. O, God I cried (B)

14. I ceased (SATB)

15. I know not how (ASTB)

16. Ah, Up then (SATB)

17. Thou canst not move (SATB)

18. The world stands out (SATB)

 

Note from Composer

Renascence is a song cycle for vocal quartet and piano. The songs cohere in a rather theatrical sequence but solos, quartets and duets may be excerpted as individual performance pieces as well.

 

A teenager in Maine spins around, casually establishing her coordinates in the world, when, suddenly, she becomes contaminated by Infinity. Manic episodes transform into saint-like empathy as she is taken on a journey through self, other, death, re-birth and spiritual awareness. All in iambic tetrameter no less! This is Renascence, the long poem that won a teenage Edna St. Vincent Millay worldwide critical attention in 1912. In setting this poem to music I cast the soprano as central narrator while the other voices become aspects of her imagination that echo, support and ventriloquize the different chapters in her remarkable story.

 

Thanks to the Millay Colony for the Arts where I composed the first half of this cycle in 2010 and to the Dramatists Guild of America for a pre-premier venue, to pianist, Thomas Bagwell for some excellent advice, to baritone/teacher, Peter Van Derick for presenting me with a book of Millay poetry in the early 90’s and lastly to the splendid vocal quartet that premiered the cycle at the National Opera Center in 2012: soprano, Katherine Whyte, mezzo-soprano, Blythe Gaissert-Levitt, tenor, Alex Mansoori and baritone, Michael Anthony McGee whom you can hear in excerpts below.

top photo (MH at Millay Colony)

middle photo (young Millay)

bottom photo (above mentioned quartet at the Dramatists Guild)

Listen Now

10. Deep in the earth (A with soprano)

3. I screamed, and lo! (TS)

18. The world stands out (SATB)

13. O, God I cried (B)

 

Song Cycle for Vocal Quartet and Piano

Quartet: soprano (S), mezzo-soprano (A), tenor (T),

baritone (B)

 

Duration: 42 minutes

12. How can I bear it (S with tenor)

11. The rain I said (SATB)

Renascence (Edna St. Vincent Millay)

2012

16. Ah, Up then (SATB)

17. Thou canst not move (SATB)