Meditation at Oyster River

song for soprano and piano; 9′ (1999)
poetry: Theodore Roethke

buy the score:
please contact Scott directly to inquire about purchasing sheet music

composer’s note:

Old_Mill_&_Dam,_Durham,_NH“Meditation at Oyster River” was one of my first attempts at extended an art song out into something like a scene, a form to which I’ve returned numerous times since (for instance, “Annabel Lee,” “Return and Return Again,” and many of my chamber works such as “GIC to HAR” and “Facts About the Moon”). It’s also one of the last scores I fully notated by hand, using the highest standards of hand-engraving as taught to me by many excellent teachers. A small portion of this song is featured as the banner to this website, though it’s been blurred to make it a more effective background. The music itself is episodic in interesting ways, flying quickly through many different styles of songwriting, but always lingering the longest on a slow, languid figure in the piano with a soaring vocal melody floating above. That musical idea, based loosely on Messiaen’s “Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus,” with which I was obsessed at the time (and still love), feels like home. It provides a strong place of quiet rest in the midst of a wild, dramatic song… a meditative center where the music (and the text) comes to rest between flights of fancy.