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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The First Dandelion, on Walt Whitman’s poem

From the choral cycle ‘Songs of Spring’, No.1.

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 [1’43”]

Level of difficulty advanced

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

Description

The song is in C major, Adagio. For the lyrics, ‘The First Dandelion’ poem by Walt Whitman from ‘The Leaves of Grass’ had been chosen:

Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging,

As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,

Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass — innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,

The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful face.

When I was composing this piece, I thought of simple and easy-to-listen music. The texture is quite transparent, with drops of motif imitations. The form is following the changes of the poetic lines and has ABCA1 scheme. The vocal ranges are: Soprano – D4 – F5, Alto – A-flat3 – G4, Tenor – E-flat3 – D-flat4, Bass – G2 – A3.

Performance notes

The pastoral character of this song better matches with light-colored voices. Prevailing low dynamics and slow Adagio tempo might constitute certain difficulties for a chorus. In this case, slightly changes toward louder volumes or/and faster tempos are possible.

Look at the score sample

Listen to the midi rendering

Purchase the score and parts on Etsy