Op. 29 - city vignettes

for Mezzo-Soprano and Guitar [or Piano]

(2013)

Text: Sara Teasdale
Language: English

I. Dawn
II. Dusk
III. Rain at Night

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Program Notes: The City Vignettes began as a work for the mezzo-soprano and guitar group, the Malkin-Trybek Duo. The arrangement for piano was born out of necessity and practicality, and the cycle was subsequently arranged on request for Flute, Clarinet, Violin and Alto Saxophone. American lyric poet, Sara Teasdale, first published her set of three miniature poems City Vignettes in 1911 in the collection Helen of Troy and Other Poems. Though Teasdale regularly had bouts of depression throughout her life, which ended in suicide, she was the first person, man or woman, to receive the first ever Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1918. The first poem, Dawn, opens with the atmospheric line “The greenish sky glows up in misty reds,” set in the key of a minor, grows to despair and ends in loneliness. A very free and expressive solo begins the second number, Dusk, and continues into a dismal description of the austere city landscape. There is hope, seemingly, as Teasdale writes “A thousand yellow lights begin to gleam and over all the pale untroubled skies,” set to a rhythmic and bouncy accompaniment based on the introductory material. A distinctly metered pedal point is employed at the onset of the third stanza, Rain at Night, depicting the steady precipitation. A plaintive tune is sung or played over the raindrops and reaches a climax, through a shift in the pedal tone and its rhythmic intensity, at the line “and the rain is heard now loud and blurred,” before subduing itself back to a light drizzle and concluding the cycle.

Performance History:

-February 5th, 2014; Piano; Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, California – 8PM

-March 12th, 2014; Guitar; Saint Mark’s Lenten Concert Series; St. Mark's Episcopal Church; Glendale, California – 12PM

-August 23rd, 2014; Guitar; Solo Recital; Steinway Gallery; Pasadena, California - 4PM

-June 27th, 2015; Guitar; Edendale Up Close; Edendale Public Library; Echo Park, California - 12PM

-January 21st, 2017; Guitar; Footnotes: Fifth Annual Concert of New Music for Voice and Guitar; Fallout Arts Initiative Studio 3; Minneapolis, Minnesota – 7:30PM

-January 22nd, 2017; Guitar; Footnotes: Fifth Annual Concert of New Music for Voice and Guitar; Fallout Arts Initiative Studio 3; Minneapolis, Minnesota – 3PM

-February 24th, 2017; Piano; RenegadeEnsemble – Black Anemones; Studio Z; Minneapolis, Minnesota – 7:30PM

-February 25th, 2017; Piano; RenegadeEnsemble – Black Anemones; Studio Z; Minneapolis, Minnesota – 7:30PM

-October 21st, 2017; Piano; The Truth in Simple Things; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church; Glendale, California – 8PM

-November 19th, 2017; Duo Arabesque; Promethéus - Stagione Concertistica; Castello di Leucatia di Catania; Catania, Italy 

George N. Gianopoulos

composer