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Three Poems (poems by Matthew Cory, music by me)


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Hi everybody! I'm back with another piece of choral music! This time I took three poems by Matthew Cory (Poetictennis over at poetrycircle.com) and set them to music. I don't have as much experience with SATB as I do TTBB (since I can just record the TTBB parts myself), but now I love writing for SATB. If you know any sopranos or altos who would like to record, message me!

 

The piece starts with his "Cinquain":

beneath
her veil of smiles
and charms are vestiges
of vows no longer meaningful,
but missed

For this movement, I really wanted to paint the words since they were so strong. It starts with the Sopranos singing "beneath" and the altos filling in to create a feeling of looking up at the heavens. Next, I used a very thick cluster chord on the word "veil" to really make it seem as though we were passing through a veil to the word "smiles" which is somewhat resolved. The second time through those lines, I decided to change the tonality when we got to "smiles" to imply the falseness. It ends in a rather simple way.

 

Movement two is his "Widowers":

A sullen bluebird wails a hymn
Alone atop a white capped limb
While midst the sunlit drifts of snow,
Its mate lies hushed, interred below.

Behind the scene, I see your stone
And live your death again; I moan,
Besieged by latent misery,
Then join the songster’s elegy.

This is a simple but beautiful poem, so I wanted to write in in a simple way, almost like a very sad lullaby. The line "While midst the sunlit drifts of snow" is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen written, so I highlighted it with lush chords.


Finally, we end with his "Coronation":

At dawn, winged trumpeters present
His majesty as eyes turn east
And gaze upon his grand ascent
To heaven’s throne. A royal feast
Of scenic views illuminate
When golden scepters strafe the earth,
While evening’s minions hibernate
And morning celebrates rebirth.

In performance, there would be a pregnant pause between Widowers and Coronation. The beginning of the piece is meant to actually portray "at dawn" with a musical "painting" of a sunrise. I also use word painting with "his grand ascent" with ascending chords. I also tried to represent glowing light during the word "illuminate". Finally, I try to evoke a dreamlike sleep sound with the chord in the word "hibernate".

Thanks for listening. I'm very excited to hear your feedback!

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These are beautiful, really! Quite somber and atmospheric, reminding me of the better tunes of Jeremy Soule("Distant Horizons" and "Dawn" come to mind) of all things. However, I wonder whether the balacing between the voices' volumes is a bit off. For reference: In the last measures of Widowers(MM. 44-fin) and the first measures of Coronation(MM. 1 f.), I can hardly pick out the soprano, who I would expect to be the easiest to follow. Mind you, this might well have been your intention, but I am still curious whether you intended to blur the voices and how you did it(by adding reverb, I suppose)?

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, KStoertebeker said:

These are beautiful, really! Quite somber and atmospheric, reminding me of the better tunes of Jeremy Soule("Distant Horizons" and "Dawn" come to mind) of all things. However, I wonder whether the balacing between the voices' volumes is a bit off. For reference: In the last measures of Widowers(MM. 44-fin) and the first measures of Coronation(MM. 1 f.), I can hardly pick out the soprano, who I would expect to be the easiest to follow. Mind you, this might well have been your intention, but I am still curious whether you intended to blur the voices and how you did it(by adding reverb, I suppose)?

 

Thanks for the feedback! I'm a little limited with my current laptop and cheap DAW equipment. I will be balancing things properly when I record it with real voices. Cheers!

Edited by JordanRoberts
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