Repertoire Search

John Harbison

Publisher: AMP

Closer to My Own Life (2011),
Text Writer
Alice Munro
Publisher
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Category
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
2011
Duration
19 Minutes
Language
English
Soloist
Mezzo Soprano
Programme Note
John Harbison Closer to My Own Life (2011),
Text (English):
Alice Munro

Premiere:
October 16, 2011
Christine Rice, mezzo-soprano
The MET Orchestra
Fabio Luisi, conductor
Carnegie Hall, New York, NY

Composer note:
In her 2006 collection The View from Castle Rock, Alice Munro included some stories which had not belonged in her previous books of fiction. Why not? In the forward she explains "they were not memoirs but they were closer to my own life than the other stories I had written, even in the first person." Then, later — "You could say that such stories pay more attention to the truth of a life than fiction usually does. But not enough to swear on." Many of her characteristic themes appear on these "something-like-stories" revealing sources of the conflicts, joys, shadows, and surprises that have generated many of her fictions.

Most exceptionally, the closing strains of some of these tales include reflective summaries — adapted, with the author's permission, as the text for Closer to My Own Life.

There are four sections, responding to questions implied in Munro's words: where did we come from, what do we desire, how do we deal with our mortality, what do we remember. But the piece is also made from sounds and proportions which took shape during a very welcome re-reading of all Munro's fiction, before I had arrived at a text. I was aware of what constantly caught me in her writing — the ambiguity of the situations, the sudden fatefulness and decisiveness, the strangeness which also seems very close. These are qualities which may be in the vocal part, but also in the keen participation of the instruments, the eventfulness of an accompaniment which represents the presence of hidden disturbances or possibilities.

I am grateful to the Nash Family Foundation and to James Levine for the opportunity to work with words by the prose writer I love most, and to write for the matchless orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera.

— John Harbison


Performances
Date
Title
  • 17 MAY 2014
    American Music Festival
    EMPAC, Troy, NY
    Albany Symphony
    Mary Mackenzie, mezzo-soprano; David Alan Miller, conductor
  • 08 JUL 2013
    Lenox, MA
    Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra
  • 16 OCT 2011
    Closer to My Own Life World Premiere
    Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
    Met Orchestra
    Fabio Luisi, conductor

Close X

Newsletter Signup

Please fill in this form to receive regular news




Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2014 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.