First there was light

First there was light2017-06-04T12:05:20+00:00

Instrumentation mezzosoprano and piano

Vocal Range G3 to Ab5

Timing 25′ in nine movements

Composed 1994

Poems by Barbara Goldowsky

Commissioned by Paul Schenly in honour of Barbara Goldowsky

World Premiere June 26, 1996, Gartner Auditorium, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio. Joanne Uniatowski, mezzosoprano; Michael Borowitz, piano

Programme Notes

Los Alamos
Morning Prayer
Love Letter
Count my Bones
Fires in the Desert

When pianist Paul Schenly first approached me, in December 1992, to commission a song cycle in honour of his friend, Barbara Goldowsky, he gave me a book of her poetry from which to select texts. The choice was not easy! Barbara’s style is exceedingly musical, and her poems are rich with powerful images and emotions. In the end, I selected nine poems which encompassed two primary sources of inspiration: contemporary relationships and Native American themes. Though these two ideas may seem quite disparate, the poems are linked by a continuous and evolving thread of images. In an alternating pattern around a central song of loss, both ideas develop from an initial burst of primal earth-energy, through a life of hope mixed with fear, of faith challenged and affirmed, and finally ending with a sense of release, redemption and rebirth.

The poems are taken from Ferry to Nirvana and New Poems by Barbara Goldowsky.

PDF score excerpts

First Light texts   Los Alamos excerpt   Chemistry excerpt   Solstice excerpt   Morning Prayer excerpt   Inventory excerpt   Love Letter excerpt   Count My Bones excerpt   Watermill excerpt   Fires in the Desert excerpt

Audio excerpt

Coming soon

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Score $32 print, $19.50 PDF.
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