August 21, 2017

Three Simple Songs (2002)

Purchase Score
(Click on title for lyrics/audio)

There Is Another Sky 3’28”
God Made A Little Gentian
1’20”
Poor Little Heart
1’33”
(Recording: Erie Mills, soprano; Henry Mollicone, piano)

For soprano with piano accompaniment
Level: medium, 6’21”

Program Notes:

In early 2002, while waiting for William Luce to complete the libretto for our new opera Gabriel’s Daughter, I began sketching several songs for soprano, many based upon the words of a favorite poet of mine, Emily Dickinson. I wanted to preserve the elegance and clarity of text by keeping my music relatively simple in content, suitable for young professionals and college-age students of voice. The songs are dedicated to my friend, John Moriarty, one of the great vocal coaches and teachers of our time. A former teacher of mine at New England Conservatory in Boston, John Moriarty has strongly inspired me with his deep love and knowledge of lieder and opera, and made possible for me my first experience in the professional opera world as an “apprentice coach and composer” with the Lake George Opera Festival in the late 1960’s. He has trained a great many professional singers since then, and these songs are intended as a tribute to his good work.

—Henry Mollicone

There Is Another Sky
3’28”

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum;
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!

–Emily Dickinson
c. 1851, from Poems of Emily Dickinson, Roberts Brothers, Boston, 1890.

God Made A Little Gentian
1’20”

God made a little Gentian –
It tried – to be a Rose –
And failed – and all the Summer laughed –
But just before the Snows

There rose a Purple Creature –
That ravished all the Hill –
And Summer hid her Forehead –
And Mockery – was still –

The Frosts were her condition –
The Tyrian would not come
Until the North – invoke it –
Creator – Shall I – bloom?

–Emily Dickinson
c. 1862, from Poems of Emily Dickinson, Roberts Brothers, Boston, 1890

Poor Little Heart
1’33”

Poor little Heart!
Did they forget thee?
Then dinna care! Then dinna care!

Proud little Heart!
Did they forsake thee?
Be debonnaire! Be debonnaire!

Frail little Heart!
I would not break thee –
Could’st credit me? Could’st credit me?

Gay little Heart –
Like Morning Glory!
Wind and Sun – wilt thee array!

–Emily Dickinson
c. 1860, from Poems of Emily Dickinson, Roberts Brothers, Boston, 1890

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