Four Poems by E. E. Cummings

  (2011, 2012, 2014)

Synopsis

A collection of four Cummings text settings (nos. 47-50 in 2014’s 100 Poems project).

I began writing Four Poems in April of 2011 as the first lengthy work to make use of my letter-pitch substitution technique (see: Three Poems by E. E. Cummings [2009]). I intended to challenge myself to write for four voices, two of them polyphonic, using this method of composition. The process proved to be quite intense, and the piece was abandoned until 2012, when I picked up on the second of the four poems. Again, the piece was abandoned until the summer of 2014, when it was finally completed to celebrate the birthday of my friend, soprano Hannah Moss, for whom the work is written. Additionally, each of the poems uses a unique set of pitches based on the names of four women important in my life. The movements which bear their signatures are dedicated to them individually: i. to a friend who committed suicide in 2007; ii. to a former girlfriend; iii. to my mother; iv. to a former girlfriend.

Poems used:

i. in the rain [dedicated to Monique Hannah]
ii. it is so long since my heart has been with yours [dedicated to Madison Fletcher]
iii.  [dedicated to Cheryl Mlodzianowski]
iv. i will wade out till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers [dedicated to Cecelia Gray]