Color Leaves, Light Stays (2003)

for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble

Duration: 16'

Mz Sopr, Fl, Vla, Vc, and Pno

Score and parts available from the composer

The five W.S. Merwin poems that serve as the foundation for this set of songs center on humanity's special but fragile relationship with nature.  We are born of nature and will be reclaimed by it when we die, yet most of us fail to truly connect with it in any sustained manner.  We treasure it in our National Parks but destroy it in our urban sprawl.  We embrace its beauty but fear its wrath.

With my setting of these poems, as with all of my songs, I endeavored to find the core sentiment or journey of each, and then developed appropriate environments in which the words could unfold naturally.  The texts led me to discover musical analogies that helped define the world that each poem inhabits... from the sentimental admiration of nature (Vocations I and III) to the fear of its storms (Vocations II), from the love of its quiet surprises (Man with one leaf in October night) to the awkwardness of our dance with its inherent grace (Now it is clear).

Vocations I:

Now It Is Clear:

Vocations II:

Man With One Leaf In October Night:

Vocations III: