Reading Edna St. Vincent Millay’s 3 Songs of Shattering, I was struck by the word “shatter” to describe the wiltingrose. I decided to reflect that by having the music “shatter” as well, using spoken or whispered text to contrast themusic. Though this idea is old (Hildegard Van Bingen made use of this technique), I hope that placing it in a modernpartsong context brings it new meaning.
The poem centers on yearning and reflects on the capriciousness of our emotions. The “soloist” contrasts the rest of thechoir, reinforcing the idea of yearning; harmonic shifts reflect changes in emotion.
This piece should be performed freely, with changes in tempo and dynamics based on the performers’ interpretation.
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