of youThis cycle – six settings of poems by ee cummings – explores the experience of love through the prism of the senses and celebrates the sensual, voluptuous quality of the mezzo-soprano voice. The cycle received its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in December 2017 with mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and pianist Kathleen Kelly.
AwayCommissioned by the Leeds Lieder Festival, this cycle for soprano and piano explores the theme of journeying in its many forms, setting three poems by Rabindranath Tagore. Encompassing the thoughts of a weary traveller, a lover looking to start a new life with her beloved and a mother grieving the loss of her child, the cycle received its world premiere at Leeds Lieder in 2017 with soprano Rowan Pierce & pianist Roger Vignoles.
These Motley FoolsThis song cycle for piano and countertenor was commissioned by Wigmore Hall for internationally acclaimed countertenor Lawrence Zazzo and is an exploration of the differing facets of the Shakespearean fool. Starting with the anger of the battered, subjugated Dromio of Ephesus, it journeys through Feste’s melancholy, Dromio of Syracuse’s lust for his domineering and shapely wife and ends with Gobbo’s conflicted vow to flee his master.
The Undying SplendourThe brutality of the First World War inspired some of the most vivid accounts of the battlefield, amongst them stands Sgt. J.W. Streets. The selected verses depict the internal journey of a soldier. The world premiere of this cycle was given at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 2013 by American tenor Alek Shrader, who has since performed the work at venues including Wigmore Hall and Dallas Opera.
Wombed Souls'Wombed Souls' is a setting of three Hardy poems exploring Victorian womanhood, scored for soprano and piano. All these women are faced with the most dire of circumstances, but refuse to be defined by them, remaining steadfast in their resilience and defiance.
Day Turned into NightQueen Victoria is habitually depicted as the grieving widow. Her sorrow is seldom contextualised, yet it is a sorrow that could have only been borne out of an all-consuming love. This cycle seeks to contextualise her grief, setting her own awe-strikingly honest words from her writings concerning her dear Albert. Following its world premiere at the Munich Opera Festival by Diana Damrau, this cycle has been heard at venues including the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Wigmore Hall and Shanghai Conservatory.
Cradle Suite vol. I & IIThe Lullaby is traditionally the simplest of song forms, often belying the sinister nature of the text. Themes of night, fear and death are ever-present married with the escapism sought through sleep and dreams. The c.19th century US-poet Eugene Field captures this atmosphere in his collection. For middle-voice, vol. I sets Field's ‘Japanese Lullaby’ and ‘Norse Lullaby’. Vol. II scored as a cycle of duets (for soprano & mezzo) evokes Old England, the Orkney Isles and Cornwall.
Daughters of BritanniaThis cycle, written expressly for soprano Diana Damrau depicts five heroines of British history and mythology, namely Boudicca, Maid Marian, Morgause, Guinevere and Lady Godiva. From Boudicca’s vengeful call-to-arms, to Godiva’s nervously effervescent journey atop her steed via Morgause’s sensual overture’s to King Arthur, this cycle received its world premiere at Stuttgart’s European Music Festival in 2007 and has since been heard elsewhere in Germany, Austria and London’s Wigmore Hall.