Music Composers Unite!
This was my setting of a Walt Whitman poem called "Facing West".
FACING west, from California’s shores, Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,
I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,
Look off the shores of my Western Sea—the circle almost circled;
For, starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere, From Asia—from the north
—from the God, the sage, and the hero,
From the south—from the flowery peninsulas, and the spice islands;
Long having wander’d since—round the earth having wander’d,
Now I face home again—very pleas’d and joyous;
(But where is what I started for, so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?)
I was lucky enough to have it performed last week in Hampshire by the soprano Jacqueline Pischorn.
See what you think - I thought it was an excellent performance. I have included the PDF score to follow if you wish.
Very good job on both of your parts. Now that I am able to hear the voice and words I can understand where the music is going better.
One area you might want to take a second look at is at measures 18-26. I cant put my finger on it but the text setting might need to be looked at more.
I was also hoping for a big climax, big note or something. You have a great singer, I would have really like to hear her sing some high notes and give us that big satisfying moment.
Other then that, its a very strong and very good piece. You have very clear and consistent ideas. Good Job
thanks so much for your good advice. I will look again at the measures suggested. Glad you agree she's a great singer.
Glad to hear from you again after a while (although I have noticed your recent exploits on Facebook ; - )
It's a beautiful performance, but I cannot say it is even sound and fury. It is only sound. This might be my own bias for something dynamic, Romantic, and my limited patience for operatic noodling, so take it with a grain of salt.
Two things, I think, to chew on: Either the melodies in each verse section need to be made to fit better with the chorus, or the piano part needs to be made just as strikingly different from the chorus as the melody is each time a verse rolls around. As it is, the piano goes nowhere and the melody goes everywhere --- sometimes psalmtone, sometimes noodling with the best of Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Speaking as purely an aesthete, the parts are not intercomplimentary, to use a word which does not yet exist. Surely if you are making dramatic changes in the kind of contour your melody has, the piano should underscore these changes, not diminish them.
This is really very lovely. The music is a perfect complement to the poem, in its seeming simplicity, yet is very effective and emotional and expressive. It feels to me like not one note is there beyond what is required. I had a sense as I was halfway through the piece that a surprise ending would be needed to avoid monotony and you didn't disappoint, the new chords in bar 85 deepened the emotion and provided a lovely finish. Bravo!
Thanks so much for listening - and bumping up a performance I was very pleased with.