Blackbird Etude (2013)
for mezzo soprano and piano (D4 - E5)
texts by A.E. Stallings
Approximate duration: ca. 2'25"
Premiere: July, 2013
Bargemusic, New York City
Anna Tonna, mezzo soprano
Olga Vinokur, pianist
“Unhidden Truths”: the enigma lying in plain sight before us, revealed through contemplation of unexpected sources”. This term, coined by my boss at my day job, resonates with me in my predilection for texts for art song settings: ordinary, everyday objects that inspire deeper, metaphysical wn experiences or psychological state.
It was this aspect of the poems of A.E. Stallings that resonated with me in early May of 2013 when I was asked by the luminous mezzo Anna Tonna to provide brand new songs for the Hear/Now series at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
These three songs are not necessarily intended to be performed as a set or intrinsic cycle. In my pursuit of building up a catalog, these songs constitute individual, stand alone works.
That said, having been composed in conjunction with each other, all three share a basic rhythmic figure that is developed in different ways in the three songs, as well as a harmonic basis of juxtaposing triads a whole step apart, which I vary between major and minor to provide movement and contrast.