I’m Afraid It’s You

song cycle for tenor and piano; 12′ (2014)
poetry: Wendy Cope
(commissioned by Brian Thorsett and the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts)

1. Valentine
2. Loss
3. After the Lunch
4. The Orange
5. Variation on a Lennon and McCartney Song
6. A Vow

performed by Brian Thorsett, tenor and Tracy Cowden, piano:
“Valentine”


“Loss”


“After The Lunch”


“The Orange”


“Variation on a Lennon and McCartney Song”


“A Vow”

buy the score:
PDF download
Hard copy

composer’s note:
wendy-copeWhen I first encountered Wendy Cope’s poetry, I was immediately struck by what a brilliant humorist she is, and by how many times I laughed out loud while reading. But the more I read her books, the more I found a surprising tenderness beneath the humor. So, in choosing the poetry for “I’m Afraid It’s You,” I wanted to explore that feeling, to write a song cycle that was funny and light-hearted on the surface but at its core was a set of earnest love songs.

An old axiom of dramatic literature says that it’s easy to go from a funny tone to a serious one, but nearly impossible to go the other way around. I wanted to take that difficult path and see where it would lead. Nowhere is this as obvious as in the last two songs, where I first rip a classic love song to shreds, and then follow it up immediately with a more complex but equally heartfelt love song, “A Vow.” That final song is dedicated both to Brian Thorsett’s wife Amy, and my wife Kelly, who I think would appreciate both the mockery of sappy love in the previous song and the more nuanced exaltation (in “A Vow”) of that same sappy love.

sample page:
im afraid its you sample