for soprano and piano (Eb4 - Ab5)
texts by Chris O'Dell
Approximate duration: ca. 2'20"
Commissioned by Laura Strickling
as part of the "40@40" project
Premiere: March 22, 2022
Bronx Community College / CUNY
Peony was serendipitously the first piece of music I wrote (in February 2021) following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S.. Both the calamitous toll of the pandemic itself, and the seismic social justice eruptions throughout the country in its wake - especially the George Floyd murder - left me paralyzed in more ways than just creatively. Escaping into the etherea of the song was manna to my very battered psyche.
The song was commissioned by new music champion soprano Laura Strickling, as part of her 40th birthday gift to herself (and the world of art song: commissioning 40 living composers to provide one new art song apiece.
It was no hardship finding the right poem for this request. The winging opening line of Chris' poem - "I am ready for the next thing" - instantly resonated to the aim of Laura's project and the milestone life event she was celebrating.