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John Harbison

Publisher: AMP

Flashes and Illuminations (1995)
Text Writer
English; Eugenio Montale, Elizabeth Bishop, Michael Fried, William Carlos Williams, Czeslaw Milosz
Publisher
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Category
Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players
Year Composed
1995
Duration
16 Minutes
Language
English
Soloist
Baritone
Orchestration
Availability
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Score   

Programme Note
John Harbison Flashes and Illuminations (1995)
Text: (En) English; Eugenio Montale, Elizabeth Bishop, Michael Fried, William Carlos Williams, Czeslaw Milosz

Composer note:
Flashes and Illuminations was commissioned by Reader’s Digest/Meet the Composer for baritone Sanford Sylvan and pianist David Breitman. Honoring their long musical partnership, I composed a piece that falls equally to pianist and singer, from poets who invite sustained reflection.

The title comes, in part, form the “Flashes and Dedications” section of Eugenio Montale’s book La Bufera (The Storm), in which the poem “Sulla Greve” appears (the Greve is a small river near Florence). For Montale, the “flash” is a momentary perception of the natural world or a human interaction that brings sudden insight.

Each poem suggested to me a Montalean flash: sudden, muted lightning on the horizon.

— John Harbison

Related works:
   December 1
   Flashes and Illuminations

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