I long and seek after

October 12th, 2019 (premiere)

First Church Congregational
Cambridge, MA
17′
Work awarded the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America

PROGRAM NOTE

“I long and seek after” is my 21st century response to one of my favorite song cycles – Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben. While at the Aspen Music Festival many years ago, I was also an usher for many of the concerts, and it was there that I fell in love with Art Song and the Schumann cycle. As a woman in my early 20’s, the text of that piece depicted all that I had come to expect from my future life, given what all the fairytales, Hollywood rom-coms, and Disney movies of my youth had told me: that one day I would meet a man who would sweep me off my feet, I would pledge myself to him, my whole life would be based around his life (and the birth of my future child or children), and that the first real pain will come when that man dies.

Now that I am in my 40’s, it is really clear to me (and to many other women) that this is just not so…and nor should it be. I made a choice in regards to my husband, our partnership, and our son, but many women might not want to make those exact choices. Also, we encounter pain in many different forms much earlier in our lives – but we may not have the voice, the place, or the means by which to speak about it, the ability to break various cycles of behavior in ourselves or others, or the people around us really ready to listen. Using Sappho’s poetry (wonderfully translated by Anne Carson), I wanted to create a cycle that depicts women having the courage to live their life boldly, while growing older gracefully, assuredly, and proudly.

TEXT

MVT I

#24A

you will remember
for we in our youth
did these things
yes many and beautiful things

MVT II


#48

you came and I was crazy for you
and you cooled my mind that burned with longing

#78

(nor)
desire
but all at once
blossom
desire
took delight

#52

i would not think to touch the sky with two arms

MVT IV


#26

]frequently
]for those
I treat well are the ones who most of all
]harm me
]crazy
]
]
]
]you, I want
]to suffer
]in myself I am
]aware of this

MVT V

#137

“yet if you had a desire for good or beautiful things
and your tongue were not concocting some evil to say
shame would not hold down your eyes
but rather you would speak about what is just”

MVT VI


#125

I used to weave crowns

# 147

someone will remember us
I say
even in another time