Instrumentation tenor and piano

Vocal Range written D4 to C6 (ossia Bb5), sounding 8ve lower

Timing ca. 15′

Composed 2021

Poems by Michelle Poirier Brown

Commissioned by Pacific Opera Victoria

World Premiere April 16, 2021, online stream presented by Pacific Opera Victoria from the Baumann Centre, Victoria, British Columbia. Colin Ainsworth, tenor; Kimberley-Ann Bartczak, piano.

Programme Notes

The Cast
5:53 PM

The Length of a Day for tenor and piano sets four poems by Michelle Poirier Brown that trace a dramatic arc of descending into darkness and emerging into light. There is a loss at the end of the first song, The Cast, but waiting for it is a kind of denial, a futile hope, as snow accumulates and the sun moves across the sky until night inevitably falls, and we are suddenly alone. The second song 5:53 PM is a series of “what ifs” as irrational fragmented thoughts insist that we have only ourselves to blame. Slow reflects the weariness of each day the same as the one before and the one following, time passing strangely in uncertainty and isolation. Finally, in Praise we begin to leave the darkness behind and re-engage with the world around us. The snow is gone, the water is flowing, and the sun is warming again. The bright future is not quite here yet, but we now know for certain it is just around the corner, and we are preparing for its arrival. “It is not yet time for singing” but it is time to hear the birds’ songs.

The Length of a Day was commissioned by Pacific Opera Victoria for Colin Ainsworth, and received its World Premiere via online stream from The Baumann Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, on April 16, 2021 with the following performers:

Colin Ainsworth – Tenor
Kimberley-Ann Bartczak – Piano


“Slow” and “Praise” from the world premiere online performance at the Baumann Centre, Victoria, Canada, presented by Pacific Opera Victoria. Colin Ainsworth (tenor) and Kimberley-Ann Bartczak (piano). Direction by Glynis Leyshon.

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Length of a Day perusal

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