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Augusta Read Thomas

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour (2004)
G Schirmer Inc
Soloist(s) and Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Sub Category
Year Composed
8 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Mezzo-soprano, Tenor
Programme Note
Augusta Read Thomas Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour (2004)
Composer's Note:

Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, and dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Alan Pierson and to members of the Alarm Will Sound Ensemble, Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour received its world premiere [on 7 April 2005]. It is 8 minutes in duration and was tailor-made for the specific musicians. For instance, a violinist in the group is also a counter-tenor, so I took the liberty of using his voice in the piece. I also requested the vocal range of each member of the ensemble and then wrote vocal parts for each. The solo Mezzo-Soprano and the Counter-Tenor sing the text to the Wallace Steven's poem entitled, Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour, while at the same time, members of the ensemble vocalize and chant Stevens' poem, The Poem That Took The Place Of A Mountain. The two poems are interlaced, as if commenting to one another.

Three works of mine make reference to poems of Stevens, the two others being: Words of the Sea for orchestra and Credences of Summer for orchestra, neither of which set his text but rather their music follows the argument and imagery of his poems.

— Augusta Read Thomas

But in Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour, which received its premiere, Ms. Thomas proved that she can write with naturalness for the voice. Threading through the lushly orchestrated work are two Wallace Stevens poems — one spoken by a narrator, the other sung by a duo, here the dusky-toned mezzo-soprano Kirsten Sollek and the sweet-voiced countertenor Caleb Burhans. Sustained modal harmonies and chantlike lines lend the music a neo-medieval quality. In places Ms. Thomas even requires the musicians to sing as well, which the Alarm Will Sound players did most willingly. Will other ensembles oblige her so well when the piece is next performed?
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times,4/9/2005
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