Songs of Spring, three choral songs on Walt Whitman’s poems

 

songs_of_spring_title

  1. The First Dandelion. C major. Adagio
  2. After the Dazzle of Day. B minor – B major. Lento
  3. Out of May’s Shows Selected. G major. Allegretto

Date of composing April 2014; May 2015 – revised; January 2016 – revised

Genre choral songs for mixed chorus SATB a cappella; the second song is for SATB and alto solo

Language English

Style Romantic

Duration [1’43”], [2’21”], [1’52”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyrights music: © 2014-2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Walt Whitman’s poems from public domain (credit to http://www.gutenberg.org)

Ideas and inspirations

Composed in spring but in desert scorching environment, the work was inspired by my dreaming of a spring full of fresh colors, fragrant smells and awaking noises. Three short poems by Walt Whitman had been chosen from his great poetic cycle ‘The Leaves of Grass’, because of their vivid and picturesque character. They were combined within a cycle with its own evolution of poetical mood. The unity of these songs I could describe as a course of spring with the parallels to some phases of human life. Thus, the music is displaying images from the early spring (1st song with its pale colors, fresh plants, shy emergence, innocence, calmness) through the moment of pause and self-reflection (2nd song) to the late spring (3rd song with its bold colors, grown plants, completed existence, maturity, motion). The alternating focus onto external and internal world creates additional lyrical dramatic contrast within the cycle.

Performance notes

When performed together, it is important to follow up the original tonalities and tempo marks. For the performance notes, score samples and audio samples of each of the songs please click on the references below. Although the songs are intended to be performed as a cycle, it is possible to sing them separately.

The First Dandelion

After the Dazzle of Day

Out of May’s Shows Selected

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Out of May’s Shows Selected, on Walt Whitman’s poem

 

From the choral cycle ‘Songs of Spring’, No.3

Date of composing April 2014; May 2015 – revised; January 2016 – revised

Genre choral song for mixed chorus SATB a cappella

Language English

Style Romantic

Duration [1’52”]

Level of difficulty advanced

Copyrights music: © 2014-2016 Natalia Pispini; lyrics: Walt Whitman’s poems from public domain (credit to http://www.gutenberg.org)

Description

The song is in G major, Allegretto. It is based on ‘Out of May’s Shows Selected’ poem by Walt Whitman, from ‘The Leaves of Grass’:

Apple orchards, the trees all cover’d with blossoms;

Wheat fields carpeted far and near in vital emerald green;

The eternal, exhaustless freshness of each early morning;

The yellow, golden, transparent haze of the warm afternoon sun;

The aspiring lilac bushes with profuse purple or white flowers.

The form is ABA1B1C, where C is a resuming coda. The A-sections have a melody sung by male voices and bird-calling like short repetitive motifs of female voices. In the B-sections the melody is led by soprano-alto-tenor voices and accompanied by bass voices. The tonality changes are mainly from G major to B flat major and back, with additional tonal switches in between.

Performance notes

The performance is expected to have light-colored voice sound and brilliant virtuosity. The basic difficulties are bird-calling motifs and quick tonality changes and shifts. The syllable ‘le’ is suggested for those notes without lyrics, but it is given to the choice of a choir conductor to change the syllable if necessary. The vocal ranges are: Soprano – D4 – A5, Alto – G3 – C5, Tenor – D-flat3 – E4, Bass – G2 – A-sharp 3

Look at the score sample

Listen to the midi rendering

Purchase the score