Vocal Music

 Voice and Piano

 

Begin (for soprano or mezzo-soprano and piano)

Text by Neil Aitken, used with permission

(Duration – 7:15 minutes)

Begin is the first poem from a set called Babbage’s Dream, about the first man to conceptualize the idea of a programmable computer in the 1820s. Poet Neil Aitken charts the course of Charles Babbage’s life, from his initial envisioning of an analytical machine, through his death with the machine only partially built.
It’s a story that might have been technical and academic, and yet, what caught my eye was the poet’s knack for taking complex concepts and pulling a story from them which is classical, beautiful, and universal. To me, the text of Begin is applicable to the beginning of any endeavor: The words feel like a personal reflection from someone enraptured with a vision which no one around them can see, understand, or imagine as yet.

 

A Line Storm Song (for soprano and piano)

Text by Robert Frost (from the public domain, published 1907/1913)

(Duration: 7:20 minutes)

A Line-Storm Song is a setting of one of Robert Frost’s earliest published poems. Amidst a scene filled with nature – tattered clouds, wet woods, crushed flowers and gusting winds, Frost places two lovers whose story mirrors the flow and ebb of the sea. In this setting of the text, the piano evokes the shapes and gestures of sea and wind, while the voice captures the innocence and sweetness of the lovers in the oncoming storm.

 

Soprano and Chamber Ensemble

 

The Lost Country of Sight (for soprano, cello, piano, and percussion)

Text by Neil Aitken, used with permission

(Duration – 12 minutes)
The Lost Country of Sight is a setting of four poems by Neil Aitken in tribute to his father. They portray the cyclical nature of life and relationships, serving as something of a farewell, a look at the exile of the body to the earth, the spirit to the cosmos, a father to the grave.

Voice and electronics

 

Sirens (for two sopranos, mezzo-soprano and pre-recorded track)

(Duration – 32 minutes)

Text adapted from James Russell Lowell (from the public domain)

Sirens was written for an unusual project – a multi-disciplinary collaboration between Heidi Duckler Dance theatre, LA Opera, the Los Angeles Marine Institute and AltaSea. Written for a site-specific performance on tall ships in San Pedro harbor, the cycle features singers over an electronic track incorporating samples of birds and whales to evoke a haunting marine soundscape.