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Songs of Love and Death (1993)
soprano and piano, texts by e.e. cummings

Notes on the Composition:

Written primarily at the Norfolk Chamber Festival, Songs of Love and Death approaches these themes philosophically. Written after studying Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, the songs deal with different perceptions of time. The first movement frames the cycle, presenting a somewhat masked view of the entire work. The brief second movement represents physical lust, an integral part of many relationships. The fragile third movement speaks of death, but it is not yet personalized, simply unknown and feared. The sense of timelessness, begun in the music of the third movement, now becomes the focus of the fourth movement. Love and death become wrapped into the same fiercely passionate shell. Love can only be permanent in death, which is ultimately timeless. A sense of finality and continuity, as well as a reference to Messiaen's quartet, are the primary focal points of the final movement.

Poems from e.e. cummings, Complete Poems 1904-1962 edited by George J. Firmage, used with permission of Liverlight Publishing Corp., New York, 1991.

∞ Listen to Songs of Love and Death

  1. lights begin (3:31, 4.9 MB)
  2. candy (0:35, 841 KB)
  3. this silver minute (4:06, 5.6 MB)
  4. velvet beyond (3:31, 4.8 MB)
  5. in the last light (3:36, 4.9 MB)
This recording of Songs of Love and Death is by Ursula Kleinecke, soprano and Meredith Brammeier, piano. Tracks are in MP3 format compressed at 192 kb/sec.

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