Almanac

baritone, flute, violin, cello, piano
(2017) 18′

Program Note

Almanac is comprised of four settings of poems by English poet William Blake (1757-1827), each of which focuses on a particular season. Singer Timothy Jones, for whom the work is written, suggested these poems to me, and they proved to be a source of ample inspiration. While Blake wrote each poem to stand separately from the others, they undoubtedly flow together well and share imagery with each other.

In these verses Blake presents the seasons as distinct characters, and each poem is delivered from the perspective of Man, who often pleads with nature to bring ecstatic joy or safe harbor from danger. There is a clear cyclical aspect to the poems as well, one that goes beyond descriptions of the various seasons. While there are likely many interpretations of the poetry, I continued to return to larger themes as I sketched the music: the perpetual circles of joy and tragedy, love and loss, death and rebirth.

These songs were composed for and dedicated to bass-baritone Timothy Jones.

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