for mezzo-soprano and piano
Texts by Marie Howe
Commissioned by Carnegie Hall
Premiere: March 12, 2015 Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano; Julius Drake, piano.
Duration 16 min.
I became acquainted with Marie’s Howe poetry in 2012 when I set her Annunciation as part of a large choral work. When in 2014, Sasha Cooke asked me to write a piece for her Carnegie Hall recital, I probed deeper into Howe’s works and discovered that Annunciation was the last of a set of five from her collection The Kingdom of Ordinary Time. So taken was I by the whole set, I decided to make a song-cycle out of it even if that meant “resetting” Annunciation, which— read as the apotheosis of the preceding four poems—took on new and revelatory meaning for me.
Though the biblical point of departure is unambiguous, everyone will read these poems differently. For me, they represent a flash of enlightenment, a brief intersection with a spiritual dimension, an indirect glimpse into a world beyond the ordinary. The light of the moon shines through all of them, a quiet suggestion there is something beyond that which is evident.
Of All The Moons was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, and it is dedicated with great admiration to Sasha Cooke. It was premiered on March 12, 2015 at Carnegie Hall, New York City.