Instrumentation baritone and piano

Vocal Range A2 to F#4

Timing 18′ in six movements

Composed 1991

Poems by C.P. Cavafy, trans. Rae Dalven

World Premiere February 21, 1992, Kulas Hall, The Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, Ohio. Mark Walters, baritone; Michael Borowitz, piano

Programme Notes

The Next Table
At the Theatre
Picture of a 23-year-old youth…
Before Time Changes Them

Years ago, I read a review of a recording of Schumann songs by mezzo-soprano Brigitte Fassbaender. Several songs had texts in a “male voice”, and the reviewer discussed at length the double standard that allows women to sing songs intended for male singers, while disapproving of the reverse. Furthermore, while men and women can sing about each other, and women can sing about women, there are few works in which men sing about men. Of Passion’s Tide is my contribution to this scant repertoire.

The poems were written in the 1910s and ’20s by C. P. Cavafy, used here in Rae Dalven’s English translation from the original Greek. I selected these particular poems from Cavafy’s collected works because they fell nicely into an umbrella storyline of an older man reflecting on a relationship from his youth. The first song, Desires, expresses the importance of acting on one’s feelings while one has the chance. In the second song, The Next Table, he sees a young man at a café who reminds him of his past love. The next three songs chronicle that relationship from its rapturous beginning to its unavoidable ending. Finally, Return expresses his yearning to rediscover those sensations of his youth.

PDF perusal score (non-printable)

Of Passion’s Tide (baritone) perusal

Audio excerpts

Go to the tenor version page to hear excerpts for tenor and piano

Get music

Score $30 print, $18 PDF.
To purchase, please contact me.