Black Iris

for soprano and orchestra (1998-2000)


First performance: February 26, 2000; Erin Morely, soprano; Eastman Chamber Orchestra, James Ripley, conductor; Hochestein School of Music(Rochester, New York).

Orchestration: 2.2(ca).2(bcl).2(cbn)/2.2(pic).0.0./2 hp/str

Duration: 16'

Availability: For Hire; Piano Vocal Score (with clarinet) for sale

Program Note

Texts by Mary Coleman, Emily Brontë and Charles Baudelaire. 

Black Iris was assembled from songs written from 1997 to 2000 and orchestrated to compete for a performance by an Eastman orchestra in the Fall of 2000. I arranged the songs to depict a descent from nascent flirtations to the sorrow of love lost. 

The first two songs, settings of Mary Coleridge were originally written for soprano, clarinet and piano while Iron Clouds, a setting of a poetic fragment by Emily Brontë and Mediation, from Baudelaire’s Fleur du Mal were for voice and piano. The first song, Winged Words was the last written after hearing Erin Morley’s already formidable virtuosity and coloratura. She gave the premiere performance with the Eastman Chamber Orchestra. 

In 2003, I re-arranged the entire cycle for soprano, clarinet and piano for Margaret Bishop Kohler who gave the first performance of the new version in Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall.



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