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Op. 7b - Three Songs


for [Mezzo]-Soprano, Flute, Clarinet,

        Violin and 'Cello

Text: Dorothy Parker
Language: English

I. Little Words
II. One Perfect Rose
III. Purposely Ungrammatical Love Song

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Program Notes: The poetry of the turn-of-the-century Manhattanite Dorothy Parker sets the tone for my Three Songs, Op. 7b for [Mezzo]-Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin and 'Cello. Parker’s acidic wit and sass, tongue-in-cheek sentimentality and clever wordplay pervade each of the three poems set. Written in 2007, the Three Songs saw their premiere in 2010 by Greek Soprano Eleni-Lydia Stamellou and were sparingly edited their after. The first, Little Words, penned by Parker in 1931, uses the craft of writing as a metaphor for loneliness and hopelessness. Set against a reflective accompaniment she says ‘The weary pen that sets my sorrow down feeds at my heart.’ The second song, One Perfect Rose, written in 1926, is a light-hearted sassy number filled wit. Set against a bouncy piano part, Parker text is wryly sentimental contrasts with a slower middle stanza before returning to the original character; “Why is it no one ever sent me yet one perfect limousine do you suppose?” she quips sarcastically. The final song, Purposely Ungrammatical Love Song, is taken from Parker’s Death & Taxes written and published in 1931. Musically, this song epitomizes the Art Deco age of New York in the 1920’s with its swinging cabaret accompaniment. The up tempo section captures the flirtatious nature of the text, “There’s better a mile than such is you. But when did I say that I was wise;” A wink and nod.

Performance History:

-July 14th, 2013; unSUNg – Songs Uncommon and New; St. Mark's Episcopal Church; Glendale, CA

-October 9th, 2013; Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, California – 8PM

-February 27th, 2015; Open Space Festival - University of Northern Colorado; Greeley, Colorado - 8PM

George N. Gianopoulos


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