Poems of Wallace Stevens I, op.9

soprano and seven players (fl (picc), cl (bcl), tpt, vla, vib, cel (pno), hp)
duration 13½'
composed in August - September 1967 (Tanglewood - London)

dedication: to W. L.

published by Novello and Co (on sale: Cat. No. 89 0089 02)


performances:

first performed by Jane Manning, with the Nash Ensemble, conducted by JC, 18 May 1968, Purcell Room (SBC), London.

recordings

recorded by by Jane Manning, with the Nash Ensemble, conducted by JC on Argo ZRG747 (LP)


programme note:

In this group of settings I chose to place together three poems which though written at different periods in Stevens's life nevertheless contain elements in common which could be emphasised by their juxtaposition. In the first the observer of a snowscape seems to become what he sees, while in the second a dreamer meets with a Doppelgänger figure in surroundings which are bizarre and terrifying, but also strangely beautiful. In the final setting, these images are combined in the figure of a snowman, almost obscene in his parodistic resemblance to a living being, made in our image, yet made of snow, that is to say, of nothing. The paradox that although made of nothing he is still there allows Stevens a characteristically wry tribute to 'the god of things as they are'.

JC

reviews:

other comments:

Poems set: 'Tattoo', 'Anecdote of the Prince of Peacocks', 'The Snow Man'


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