Songs from Brooches

3d2, 2, 2, 2 - 4, 3, 2, 1 - 4 - pno - 2 solo sopranos - str

Text by Zeke Greenwald

In Songs from Brooches, I set texts from the collection Brooches, by New York-based poet Zeke Greenwald. I appreciate Greenwald’s poetry for his beautiful descriptions of familiar,
mundane, or even unsightly subjects. These descriptions often provide two layers that can be depicted in music: decorative surface beauty, and less pleasant subtext.
The poems in Brooches tell the story of a single day in the life of the speaker. The primary image of the first poem is wind blowing through a window, which I depicted with three exposed flutes. The music continues for some time after the singers end in this first movement, and, in preparation for ensuing movements, the orchestra discovers itself with a large, lush bloom. The second poem describes the speaker cooking dinner, and I used the line “the gas chats with the flame” to create quite literal, incessant chatting between the two singers. The third movement continues as the speaker’s girlfriend notices he is preoccupied. To depict this, I placed the singers in a timeless soundscape, as if the world has gone out of focus. The final poem describes waking with a nosebleed, and I decided to make it the most beautiful nosebleed I could imagine.

Ensemble: 
Duration: 
20 minutes
Date: 
January, 2017