for SATB and piano
circa 10 minutes
PROGRAM NOTES by the composer:
Walt Whitman’s poetry has always spoken to me in the same way in which I try to compose - clearly, tunefully and with a traditional American sense of pride. I have written several pieces on Whitman including “Song of Myself” for SATB and Orchestra, and “Song of the Redwood-Tree” for soprano, bassoon and piano. This piece, "Whitman Songs", is a piece I’ve been working on for years in a sense, and is a bit like time travel for me personally. It is a 3-movement work for choir and piano written for and premiered by the Nassau Community College Vocal Ensemble in 2019. Its acapela first movement, “Come, Said My Soul”, is based on poem which prefaces Walt Whitman’s magnum opus Leaves of Grass and was freshly composed for this ensemble. The second movement, “For Him I Sing” is a sweet ode to the proverbial Him. It was originally written for SAB and piano in 2008 for a performance in Gramercy Park, NY, and was recomposed for this ensemble. The last movement, “I Hear America Singing” harkens back to a much older America, a pluralistic imagining of the multiple songs of each American. I first composed a version of it in 2005 for the CSU Chamber Choir and recomposed for this ensemble. I am proud to finally see this piece finished and premiered before it goes out, as Whitman writes in Leaves of Grass, like “ships coming in from the whole round world, and going out to the whole world.” It was premiered by Nassau Community College, May 2019, Ben Arendsen conducting.
Whitman Songs - score (instant download)
32 page score in portrait layout