Incantations

for Soprano and 10 Instruments

Ralph Shapey

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Incantations was written 1961 in New York City and is dedicated to Bethany Beardslee, who gave the first performance with the New York Composers? Forum on April 23, 1961. The piece is in four movements. The soprano sings ?syllables? instead of words in order to create the feeling of the magical and supernatural. In the first movement, there is a duet between soprano and cello (as though the cello is the bass voice). The second movement is an aria which uses material from the first movement. The third movement is without soprano but includes a trumpet solo. Critic Allen Hughes, writing in the New York Times, described this movement as ?the shattering blare of street and machine, the frenzied rush that won?t slow down.? And the fourth movement: ?A lone human voice cries out ? wrestling, questioning, imploring, a poignant little song that is almost a lullaby. These Incantations, so overwhelming in their impact, raise above all questions of style and technique?a composition of Abstract Expressionism that seems to lay bare the most secret and elemental doubts, yearning, torments and despairs of the human soul.?

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Additional Information

Composition Date 1961
Duration 00:17:00
Orchestration A.Sax. Hn. Tpt. 2Perc. Pno. Vcl.
Premiere April 22nd, 1961. Bethany Beardslee, Soprano, composer conducting, Composers Forum Concert Series, Donnell Library Auditorium, New York City.