Memoirs, vol. 1

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Memoirs, vol. 1 2017-11-02T17:15:16+00:00

Project Description

Instrumentation: Soprano voice, horn, and piano
Difficulty: Graduate/Professional, University
Duration: 20’00” (3’30”, 7’30”, 2’45”, 6’15”)
Text: Various
Language: English

I have many friends who write poems and prose in their spare time, and three years ago I decided to set some of these friends’ musings to music. I asked several people to contribute various texts, and over time I started to notice a common theme between the verses I received; each person had written from the perspective of someone on a great adventure, be it of a worldly or emotional type. Together, from an unknowing eye, these texts might as well have been the memoirs of a single person reflecting on their own life-changing experiences. As an ongoing project, I intend to set these texts into multiple volumes, each for voice, solo instrument, and piano. Memoirs, vol. 1 (2013) features four texts, one of which I wrote myself.


In Solitude, My Oldest Friend (Rebekah Smeltzer Staley) depicts a narrator looking at an unknown night sky, speaking to her future lover. The narrator assures this lover—and her own self—that God has placed both of them where they are for a reason, and will look after each of them until the two are able to meet in this worldly life. Where Earth Ends and Sky Begins (Jessie Holder Tourtellotte) follows with the portrait of a sunrise in the woods, as if the same narrator has stayed up all night and now beholds the beauty of a new day. Every facet is noticed, from the colors of the clouds to the morning dew, each taking on its own personification of the narrator’s emotion.

I Had the Urge Today (Robyn Davis) fast forwards to the following evening, the narrator musing on her desire to retreat and escape to some remote location, presumably to be by herself with her own thoughts. The poem concludes with her refrain from acting on her desire, expressing her confused regret at this decision. I Remember (David Pegel) continues the narrator’s musing, this time on a loved one suffering their own regrets and paralysis for reasons unknown. She voices her desire to save him from his personal hell, yet closes with the admission that if she can do nothing, may she at least remember him fondly. The large work concludes much like it began, referring to the same night sky that the narrator was gazing upon only one night prior.

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