NOTES FROM THE COMPOSERS
The Long Island Songs were composed in 1992 and premiered in December of that year by acclaimed tenor Paul Sperry with me at the piano. The bittersweet poems, drawn from William Heyen s book Long Island Light, brought back memories of my own youth on that island, a place far different than the traffic jams and strip malls of today would lead you to believe existed. The Long Island Songs underwent extensive revisions in 2005. Tom Cipullo
Three Japanese Songs is a cycle that was inspired by the poetry of Ono No Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. The poems, translated by Jane Hirschfield and Mariko Arantanspoke, are perfect and delicate works of art that seem to embody the very essence of nature. George Brunner
It is a delight to be invited into the classical world with this recording. The song See the Lilies of the Field is from Brush Arbor Revival. In the show, a young girl sings it on the morning of her wedding. In Remembrance of Me is from my show, A Spark of Faith and is often used as a communion hymn. Why Faith Abides is a setting of a poem by Phoebe Newman, herself from Ketchikan, Alaska where I conduct a two week vocal workshop every year. Phoebe s words capture the rainy beauty of Alaska s Inside Passage. No Bird Soars Too High When He Soars With His Own Wings is a William Blake quote I first encountered some years ago when a friend gave me a keychain with these words on it. It became the first line of the song. Anne Dinsmore Phillips
The cycle Three Light Pieces is a set of silly songs written as a tongue-in-cheek response to a commission. In need of a short set for a concert in Manhattan, and determined to include my music, Monica left the message Can t you just write three light pieces? Of course I obliged, writing the first song about a firefly for right hand only; the second song about a bundle of wood for left hand only; and the last song, my homage to Southern cooking, for both hands.
Longing Eternal Bliss was written for Monica Harte in 2001. It has been performed throughout the United States and was premiered in Europe in 2005. The cycle follows the emotional state of a romantic individual in the middle of a painful break-up. The opening vocalise portrays the heartbreak that leaves the person wordless. Fighting for words in Lvieaeohn (sung into the piano to use the natural reverberation of the piano s soundboard) we hear, love me as I love you or leave me alone with the spelling in the music left unclear denoting the uncertainty of the individual. Would is the plea to reunite, ending softly as though it is obvious there is no hope for a reunion. Comes and Goes represents the new beginning. The devotion has shifted and freedom is embraced. Christian McLeer