Selections from 'Words for Music Perhaps'

(W.B. Yeats)

Year: 2020

Instrumentation: mezzo soprano, baritone, piano

Duration: 8 minutes

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Program Notes

In his book “The Winding Stair and Other Poems,” W.B. Yeats included a number of poems under the sub-heading “Words for Music Perhaps.” This certainly sounds like an open invitation to composers. The first seven of these are his Crazy Jane poems, which I set many years ago for soprano, flute, strings and piano.

For whatever reason, my obsession with Yeats ebbed at some point, and I haven’t gone back to him – until just now. Picking up where I’d left off so many years ago, this grouping sets poems VIII through XI from Words for Music Perhaps. These poems, starting with Girl’s Song and Young Man’s Song, are paired songs about young love – so I’m setting them for mezzo and baritone, with simple folk-like piano accompaniment. English can be an awkward language, but Yeats always makes it sing.

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