Two Poems for chorus a capella

(1993, rev. 2019) 9'

I. after Frost
II. after Kyorai (with handbells, or piano & percussion)

Program note

Two Poems are vocalises—wordless, free expressions of poetic excerpts. The first, a capella, is a response to lines from Robert Frost’s poem Reluctance that seeks to capture the elegiac quality and acceptance of the passing of love and season. Poem II, on a haiku by Kyorai, adds handbells (or piano/percussion) to the voices to suggest the ‘chanting and humming’ of gongs. Two Poems has a long history. The first Poem was initially composed for a chorus of boys and men in 1976, then adapted for mixed chorus some years later. The second Poem was composed in 1993, for chorus and handbells. Both poems were revisited in 2019 and significant revisions were made, especially in the second when an alternate version for piano and percussion (vibraphone/glockenspiel) was added for the sake of practicality. I am indebted to conductor Alan Harler for welcoming these poems and for giving the first performances of the original versions. An arrangement of the first poem for string orchestra is also available.