Songfest

A Cycle of American Poems for Six Singers and Orchestra

Leonard Bernstein

Year

1977


Duration

41'


Movements

I. Sextet: 1. To the Poem (Frank O'Hara); II. Three Solos: 2. The Pennycandystore Beyond the El (Lawrence Ferlinghetti), 3. A Julia de Burgos (Julia de Burgos), 4. To What You Said (Walt Whitman); III. Three Ensembles: 5. Duet: I, Too, Sing America (Langston Hughes)/Okay "Negroes" (June Jordan), 6. Trio: To My Dear and Loving Husband (Anne Bradstreet), 7. Duet: Storyette H.M. (Gertrude Stein); IV. Sextet: 8. 'if you can't eat you got to' (e.e. cummings); V. Three Solos: 9. Music I Heard With You (Conrad Aiken), 10. Zizi's Lament (Gregory Corso), 11. Sonnet: 'What lips my lips have kissed' (Edna St. Vincent Millay); VI. Sextet: 12. Israfel (Edgar Allan Poe)


Instrumentation

soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass - 3(III=picc).2.corA.2.Ebcl.bcl.2.dbn - 4.3.3.1 - timp-5perc-hrp-pft(=cel/epft)-bgtr - strgs


Genre

Guitar in the Orchestra


Text/Libretto

Frank O'Hara, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Julia de Burgos, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, June Jordan, Anne Bradstreet, Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings, Conrad Aiken, Gregory Corso, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edgar Allan Poe


Premiere

Washington DC, Kennedy Center, October 1977: Clamma Dale, soprano / Rosalind Elias, mezzo-soprano / Nancy Williams, mezzo-soprano / Neil Rosenshein, tenor / John Reardon, baritone / Donald Gramm, bass-baritone / National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein (cond.)


Source

composer website;