Grand is the Seen (2014)
for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano
Vocal Range: Bb3 –G#5
Duration: 5:15 minutes
Commission: Abiquiu Chamber Music Festival
Premiere: Virginia Dupuy, mezzo-soprano and Shields-Collins Bray, piano July 20, 2014 in Abiquiu, New Mexico.
Walt Whitman from “Leaves of Grass”
Grand is the seen, the light, to me - grand are the sky and stars,
Grand is the earth, and grand are lasting time and space,
And grand their laws, so multiform, puzzling, evolutionary;
But grander far the unseen soul of me, comprehending,
endowing all those,
Lighting the light, the sky and stars, delving the earth, sailing the sea,
(What were all those, indeed, without thee, unseen soul?
of what amount without thee?)
More evolutionary, vast, puzzling, O my soul!
More multiform far-more lasting thou than they.
Program Note: The moment I read Whitman’s poem, I knew I had to set these beautiful words to music. A soundworld arose immediately and as I was getting deeper into the writing process, the music flowed freely, as if Whitman’s words themselves already had the music embedded in them and all I had to do was tap into the energy of it all. At times it felt truly magical and mysterious!
Being able to experience the grandeur of nature, the amazing sky and millions of stars while staying at the Gallina Canyon Ranch in the heart of the Chama wilderness in New Mexico was inspiring and invaluable to my creative process. What an amazing and thoughtful gift from the Abiquiu Chamber Music Festival in preparation for this commission. Whitman's poem could not be more fitting and I am so grateful to have been able to live with these words and in this soundworld for several months.
“Grand is the Seen” was commissioned by the Abiquiu Chamber Music Festival and premiered by Mezzo Soprano Virginia Dupuy and pianist Shields-Collins Bray on July 20, 2014 in Abiquiu, New Mexico.