• John Harbison
  • Vocalism (2006)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • pf
  • Soprano
  • 7 min 30 s
  • Walt Whitman
  • English

Programme Note

Composer note:
Vocalism is my only setting of Walt Whitman. This "grand aria" (so says the title page) celebrates singing. It is about the power of the voice, as pure sound, to move and change hearers.

The piece pays homage to Songfest, the conclave of singers and pianists that gathers each summer in California, under the direction of Rosemary Hyler. It is dedicated to Marc Stern, Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Opera, and his music-loving family, supporters of Songfest and of good singing. I composed Part I in 2004; it was introduced, at Songfest, by Amanda Gozier and Rosemary Hyler. The premiere of Part II (2006) was entrusted to Sarah Davis and Susan Gaeddert.

— John Harbison