Love Songs of Marichiko

Thirteen songs for mezzo-soprano and piano; 25′ (2012)
poetry: Kenneth Rexroth

1. I Love You
2. Ten Thousand Miles
3. Before We Were Lovers
4. Listen
5. Sea Water
6. A Single Ray
7. My Full Heart
8. Only Dreams
9. Love Me
10. I Waited All Night
11. My Sorrow
12. Alone
13. Half in a Dream

“I Waited All Night” performed by Jessica Timman Schwefel, mezzo-soprano and Scott Gendel, piano:

“Ten Thousand Miles,” performed by Rachel Carlson, soprano and Scott Gendel, piano:

buy the score:
Published by Classical Vocal Reprints
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composer’s note:

Hashiguchi_Goyo_-_Woman_in_Blue_Combing_Her_Hair_-_Walters_95880Marichiko is an imaginary Japanese woman poet, invented by Kenneth Rexroth. Rexroth, a prolific and brilliant translator of verse from Asian languages (as well as a great poet in English) published 60 of her poems as “translations” and fooled quite a few people before the world realized that Rexroth wrote the poems himself. But the way in which he fully inhabits his invented character is quite astonishing. Marichiko’s love poems are brutally intense, every emotion expressed as concisely and cuttingly as possible, in simple incisive language.

I chose 13 of those poems to set to music, arranging them in order from anticipation, through passionate love, into the breaking down of that love, and finally settling on absence and heartbreak. These songs could be sung as a cycle, in order, but also are meant to stand on their own so that a singer could mix & match them to create a set that suits her needs. The songs are miniatures, like Rexroth’s poems, cutting right to the emotional heart of each poem in a quick musical outburst, full of high-stakes drama and fierce inner fire.

sample page:
Love Songs of Marichiko