April 8th, 2022 (Premiere)
String Quartet and Soprano
Commissioned by CityMusic Cleveland
Available May 2022
Upon reading Weatherspoon’s poetry for the first time, it seemed impossible that it was written by someone who was only seventeen. The verses speaking about the glory, the beauty, the awkwardness, and the inconvenience of love reflected those of someone in their 40’s instead of the young person we have before us.
Then I remember how I was at that age: full of feelings and in need of a place to park them. I started creating my own music at 17, and much of what I was writing about dealt with the same issues Weatherspoon is tackling so viscerally in the following poems. In this piece, I sequenced a handful of their poems to create somewhat of a narrative about these different aspects of love while also taking inspiration from various kinds of song genres – from Art Song and Opera to Broadway and Pop. Most of all, I tried to paint an aural canvas that gives much room to showcase the gravitas of the text.
Thank you Miho, Eugenia, and CityMusic Cleveland for the commission and connecting me with Weatherspoon and their genius.
I. Between Us – Stuck in the Middle – The Saddest Thing You’ll Ever Hear
Love is not so short a feeling
That fits between us.
We are in it,
The way we are in the world.
The saddest thing you’ll ever hear is that
Your friend doesn’t believe in love,
And that life might be okay without it,
Because you’ll wonder who taught them to settle,
And who taught you to move.
Like is too juvenile a word,
Love is too old.
So we’re stuck in the middle
As children often are,
With everywhere to go but home.
II. Better Love – Georgia Peach Tree
My brother told me once,
That his girlfriend left him for someone else
I said to him sadly,
That we compete with comfort
For better love,
Not with people.
Relationships are shaky,
I know and embrace it,
Sorry, I wasted your time,
An extroverted, claustrophobic
Feeling, like love,
It don’t come easy.
It grows like a Georgia peach tree
When it’s big, it’s beautiful,
When it’s not
People step on it
I sort of stepped on you,
And I’ll learn from it.
III. On Love – Welcome
Love is a damp corner of a dark room
Where the bugs come in.
It is potential on ice in a rink
That no one seems to have brought
The right shoes for.
I mean it is inconvenient, funny,
Poorly timed, full of uneven steps,
And unwanted company.
I’m seventeen, so chew my words
Before you swallow them,
But understand when I say,
However clumsily and in juvenile tender,
That I care, and it’s nice, and it hurts,
And I call it love.
Welcome to the broken hearts club
Where healing is not so rare that we don’t sing about it,
But not so common that we know the words
To any of these songs.