Repertoire Search

John Harbison

Publisher: AMP

Four Songs of Solitude (1985)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Solo Works (excluding keyboard)
Year Composed
15 Minutes
Buy this work
Worldwide Sales   North American Sales

Programme Note
John Harbison Four Songs of Solitude (1985)
Composer note:

Four Songs of Solitude was composed during the summer of 1985 as a present for my wife, Rose Mary, who gave the first performance the following winter. They are songs, not sonatas or fugues.

The first song often returns to its initial idea, always to go a different way; the constant lyrical outward flow is balanced by a refrain line that occurs twice.

The second song begins with a folksong-like melody, which is immediately answered by a more athletic idea in a key a half step higher. The dialogue between these ideas eventually fuses them together.

The most intense piece is the third song, its melody carrying large intervals and leading toward increasingly brief and intimate reflections upon itself.

The last song is the most virtuosic and intricate. Starting from a slow emblem, which is often restated, it begins with a dance with an obstinate lower voice as accompaniment. This cycles out of control twice, but manages a fragile reconciliation at the end.

The solitude is the composers, but even more the performers. The players world is like that of the long distance runner, especially in challenging pieces like these, and I wanted our conversation in those hours of preparation to contain subjects of equal interest to both. The listeners can, if they wish, add in their own inner distances.

---John Harbison

  • Soloist(s)
    Michelle Makarski (Violin)
  • Soloist(s)
    Janine Jansen (Violin)
  • Soloist(s)
    Jennifer Frautschi (Violin)
  • Ensemble
    Camerata Pacifica
    Harmonia Mundi:
  • 29 JUL 2019
    Chamber Music
    Harris Concert Hall
    David Krauss: Trumpet, Nadine Asin: Flute, Sylvia Rosenberg: Violin, RenataArado: Violin, Espen Lilleslatten: Viola

Close X

Newsletter Signup

Enter your email address to keep up to date with the latest news and special offers from Music Sales Classical.
Your data is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. Read our Privacy Policy

Click here to receive regular news
© Copyright 2019 Music Sales Classical. Part of the Music Sales Group.