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 ‘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

 

Explore my other choral works

Advertisements

After the Dazzle of Day, on Walt Whitman’s poem

From the choral cycle ‘Songs of Spring’, No.2

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

Genre choral song for alto solo and mixed chorus SATB a cappella

Language English

Style Romantic

Duration [2’21”]

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 B minor – B major, Lento. For the lyrics, I chose ‘After the Dazzle of Day’ poem by Walt Whitman from his ‘The Leaves of Grass’:

After the dazzle of day is gone,

Only the dark, dark night shows to my eyes the stars;

After the clangor of organ majestic, or chorus, or perfect band,

Silent, athwart my soul, moves the symphony true.

The free developing form is based on alternation alto solo and chorus sections. The chorus repeats the poetical phrases sung by the soloist, and only near the end they sing together. The solo and chorus sections have different music by their meter (3/4 vs. 5/8), rhythm (more varied rhythm vs. more monotonous) and melodic contours (wider melody vs. step-by-step moving melody). The vocal ranges are: Alto solo – G3 – B-flat4; Chorus: Soprano – C-sharp4 – F5, Alto – A3 – A-sharp4, Tenor – F-sharp3 – F4, Bass – G-sharp2 – F-sharp3.

Performance notes

The alto solo voice is expected to have deep and rich timbre. The parts for alto solo and alto chorus are composed in such a way, when the best performance could be provided if the soloist is placed near other altos or surrounded by them. The 5/8 meter beats need to be as rhythmically precise as possible. The chorus harmonies contain a number of dissonant combinations.

Look at the score sample

Listen to the midi rendering

Purchase the score

 

Explore my other choral works