A Wake of Music: four songs for soprano, clarinet, cello, and piano

William Brooks (Composer)

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Texts by Emily Dickinson; 15 minutes (6:30, 2:30, 3:00, 2:30).

A Wake of Music was written in spring and summer of 2008, motivated in part by my life-long interest in Emily Dickinson’s poetry and in part by my admiration and affection for the musicianship and intelligence of Laurie Matheson, to whom the set is dedicated. The cycle sets four poems, written in relatively close proximity. The third poem was adapted slightly; the interpolated material is printed in italics, with omissions indicated by ellipses. The title is a phrase from the first song in the cycle.

The poems are loosely linked around several themes—air, love, birds, hope—and the music likewise returns irregularly to certain gestures, sonorities and colors. I have tried to engage with some of the characteristics of Dickinson’s writing: the irregularities and lifts created by the dashes that serve for punctuation; the hymn-like meters and rhyme schemes; the internal assonance that binds phrases and lines together; and the juxtaposition of commonplace, familiar references with obscure or ambiguous aspirations. But this is music written in gratitude, and meant to be thankful; it makes no claims to reveal or display.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLebanon NH (USA)
PublisherFrog Peak Music
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventA Wake of Music: world premiere - Urbana IL, United States
Duration: 28 Sep 2009 → …

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