Four Chinese Songs (1978)

Instrumentation: voice  (high or medium) and piano

Text: Tu Fu, translations by Kenneth Rexroth

Duration: 10:00

Premiered  by Ariel Graham, soprano, at Humboldt State University, Arcata, California; Fall 1978.

I. Full Moon
II. Alone
III. The Turning Year
IV. Moon, Flowers, Man

This piece was composed  while I was studying with Roger Nixon during my graduate work at San Francisco State University. The work is based on texts by medieval Chinese poets. The poetry was chosen for its simplicity of utterance and its nature imagery. I had recently performed a number of songs by Claude Debussy and was greatly influenced by his speech-like style of text declamation and his impressionistic piano accompaniments. Harmonically, the songs are quasi-tonal in that they center around certain pitch-class areas, with  much emphasis on quartal/quintal sonorities and occasional whole-tone elements.

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