• Justin Connolly
  • Poems Of Wallace Stevens I (1967)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • fl.cltptvibhp.pf[=cel]va
  • soprano
  • 14 min

Programme Note

Poems of Wallace Stevens I was first performed at the Purcell Room, London, by Jane Manning and members of the Nash Ensemble, conducted by the composer on May 18, 1968. The same artists have also recorded the work on ARGO ZRG 747.

In this group of settings the composer chose to place together three poems which though written at different periods in Steven's life nevertheless contain elements in common which could be emphasised by their juxtaposition. In the first the observer of a snowscape seems to become what he sees, while in the second a dreamer meets with a Doppelganger figure in surroundings which are bizarre and terrifying, but also strangely beautiful. In the final setting, these images are combined in the figure of a snowman, almost obscene in his parodistic resemblance to a living being, made in our image, yet made of snow, that is to say, of nothing. The paradox that although made of nothing he is still there allows Stevens characteristically wry tribute to "the god of things as they are".