Academic journal article Journal of Singing

FOR MIRIAM. Five Love Songs for High Voice and Piano (Kenneth Patchen)

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

FOR MIRIAM. Five Love Songs for High Voice and Piano (Kenneth Patchen)

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Tenor

GENDEL, SCOTT (b. 1977). FOR MIRIAM. Five Love Songs for High Voice and Piano (Kenneth Patchen). Scott Gendel, 2004 (Classical Vocal Reprints). Tonal; B#^sub 3^-B^sub 5^; Tess: M, mH, CR; mostly regular meters with some changes; varied tempos; V/M-mD, P/M-mD; 10 minutes (16 pages). Tenor.

1. "Beside Thee." Tonal on A; E^sub 4^-G^sub 5^; Tess: M; 4/4,3/4,6/4,5/4, Andante, Dolce (... = ca. 84); V/M, P/M; 3 pages.

2. "Awash with Roses." Minor tonalities; D^sub 4^-G^sub 5^; Tess: CR; 2/2, 3/2, Allegro Molto (... = ca. 138); V/M, P/M; 5 pages.

3. "Nearer Thee." Tonal; B#^sub 3^-F#^sub 5^; Tess: M; 3/4, 4/4, 2/4, 5/4, Adagio, dark and strange (... = ca. 66); V/M-mD, P/M-mD; 2 pages.

4. "Declaring Beauty." Tonal; F^sub 4^A^sub 5^; Tess: mH; 3/4, Allegro Appassionato, unrestrained and wild (... = ca. 120); V/mD, P/mD; 3 pages.

5. "Angels." Tonal; C^sub 4^-B^sub 5^; Tess: CR; 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, Largo, dolcissimo (... = ca. 60); V/mD, P/M; 3 pages.

Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) was known for his anti-war poetry, among other subjects, and was considered one of the "jazz" poets of his generation. Whatever the subject of the book of poetry, Patchen wrote a love poem as a dedication to his wife Miriam for each one. Settings of five of those dedications, this song cycle is dedicated to the composer's "soon-to-be-wife," Kelly.

"Beside Thee" declares the beauty of "the hands of a winter tree," the "green birds that sing the earth to wakefulness," the "clouds wandering over a summer field," all to be as drab, dross, tinsel, and tawdry beside the beloved Miriam. The music has a musing quality that unfolds into soaring lines as the comparisons pile up. The song ends with the piano chordal figuration introduced at the beginning under a softly chanted vocal line on a single note, with one excursion to its octave.

"Awash with Roses" moves quickly from sustained octaves into the flowing motion of triplet and sixteenth-note patterns in the piano that prepare the first line of text: "The sea is awash with roses/ O they blow upon the land. …

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