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The opposite of dehumanization is anthropomorphism--the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object. In her slender volume of verse, Margaret G. Hayes elected to anthropomorphize an entire gardenful of vegetables. From her charming literary cornucopia I plucked, at Tracy Cowden's urging, just nine--(in order of appearance): cucumbers, corn, oyster plants, parsely, celery, beans, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, turnips, eggplants, and Marrowfat peas.
On the surface, the poems at first seem twee and a little bit silly. Accepted on their own terms, however, Hayes' sometimes rather ascerbic observations about her fellow humans ring with a beguilingly prim, fierce dignity. There was room, I reckoned, here for the addition of music, which may deepen a poem's characterization, and create a context in which they may be taken seriously or not, depending on the listener's predilections.
Commissioned by Tracy Cowden with support from the Niles Faculty Research Award through the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, the complete cycle lasts fifteen minutes. Read more>>>
“This anthology contains three vocal works: two song cycles for soprano and piano and a petite chamber work for soprano, flute, and piano. Although these are early works in Hagen’s musical output, Echo’s Songs (1982), Love Songs (1988), and Dear Youth (1991) already contain the musical fingerprints of Hagen’s writing for the voice—characteristics that continued to develop and flower in his later song cycles and operas. They represent a revealing early retrospective of one of America’s distinguished composers. Composers of art song are very literate people, and are usually voracious readers. They love words, for those are their stock in trade. Art songs are fueled by poetry and it is a composer’s duty to discover the inner life of the poem he is setting to music. Daron Hagen possesses an uncanny talent along these lines. His poetic choices are diverse but always fascinating, and he sets them to music carefully and with an unerring sense of prosody.” -- Carol Kimball, from the foreword
An exquisite, library-grade limited second edition, 9 x 12, 248 pages, full-color cover 4/0 on 12pt C1S with a gloss laminate, internal pages 60 lb. paper, perfect bound with hindge so that it will open comfortably on a piano rack. Includes synopsis, cast credits, complete score and acknowledgements. This score contains all edits and changes made to the score during the world premiere production.
Commissioned by Seattle Opera for premiere in May 2010. Libretto by Gardner McFall. Story by Stephen Wadsworth. Story: A first time mother-to-be, whose psyche has been scarred by the loss of her pilot-father in Vietnam, must break free from anxiety to embrace healing and renewal for the sake of her husband and child in this original story unfolding over a 30-year period beginning in 1966. Amelia interweaves one woman’s emotional journey, the American experience in Vietnam, and elements of the Daedalus and Icarus myth to explore man’s fascination with flight and the dilemmas that arise when vehicles of flight are used for exploration, adventure, and war. With an intensely personal libretto by American poet Gardner McFall (The Pilot’s Daughter), whose father was a Navy pilot lost during Vietnam, this new American opera moves from loss to recuperation, paralysis to flight, as the protagonist, Amelia, ultimately embraces her life and the creative force of love and family. For an interactive audio-visual presentation on Amelia, click here.
Duration: 9 minutes. A finalist in the Van Cliburn Composers Invitational Competition, 2009, this four movement work was premiered 28-31 May 2009 in the Bass Performance Hall, Fort Worth, TX during the Semi-Finals of the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition by four performers: Mariangela Vacatello, Kyu Yeon Kim, Di Wu, and Michial Lifits. Learn more>>>