Summersongs for soprano, mezzo & piano

This set of three duets, Summersongs, was written and composed in New York City, in June of 1981.  I was living on the top floor of a fifth-floor walkup on East 85th Street, between Second and Third Avenues in Manhattan.  My room looked out onto the street, and one golden late afternoon, I watched children play on the sidewalk and stoops across from my building.  Their innocence and joy was inspirational, and the poetry and musical gestures of the first duet, “Street Dance,” occurred to me then.

In creating two companion pieces for this set, I went back to a love poem I had written earlier in the year (“Morning”) and then developed my ideas for the third duet, “The Useless Comedy,” based on a recently-ended relationship.  The duets were premiered 28 January 1982 at the Mannes College of Music in a recital of my work, with Judy Drudge (soprano); Leneida Crawford (mezzo); and Deborah Jamini (piano). They were also included in a concert I produced of my work 7 November 1987 at Carnegie Recital Hall (Weill).

Summersongs was not heard again until 14 years later, when Tania Elisa Garcia asked me for possible pieces to program on her recital with Suzanne (Kyung) Ma at California State University, Fullerton, in October of 2001.  Grateful for this performance of a composition I hold close to my heart, I decided to re-edit my manuscript in Finale, making a few minor changes and corrections in the process.  This second edition was finished in May of 2002 in Louisville, Kentucky, and is dedicated to Tania Elisa Garcia.

The recording here is from the Mannes premiere.

soprano, mezzo, piano
Date completed:
1981; 2002
ca. 8'
Texts by the composer

III. The Useless Comedy

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