StarSongs for chorus, violin and harp

(2002, revised 2017) 18'

Commissioned by The Music Group of Philadelphia

Program note

StarSongs is a meditation on night with particular reference to stars. The first song (Nocturn…), preludial in nature, depicts the fall of night and the emergence of stars, setting the initial stanza of a Kathleen Raine poem. The second song (A Clear Midnight) contemplates night’s spirituality (Walt Whitman), while the third (Peace on Earth), a kind of scherzo, contrasts the activity inherent in the heavenly constellations (Orion, Serpent, Cygnus, Bears, etc.) with the calm on earth (William Carlos Williams). The fourth song (Haiku) portrays the bright sound of one star “humming among the many”—a vocalise on G. C. Little’s haiku that musically projects the brief text’s meaning without stating the words. The final song (…Nocturn) completes the text of the initial poem, a consideration of man’s irrepressible need to dream. StarSongs was commissioned by The Music Group of Philadelphia, Sean Matthew Deibler, conductor, as part of its twenty-fifth anniversary season. The work was substantially revised in 2017. Materials available from the composer.

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