Roethke Lieder

Six Songs for Medium Voice and Chamber Orchestra

Sydney Hodkinson

Publisher: Merion Music, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Literary critics have noted the singular place in modern American poetry occupied by the work of Theodore Roethke (1908-1963). His mind and art were rooted principally in 19th century transcendentalism, distinct from many of the schools and movements of the 20th century.

I felt a personal kinship in my own field with his sensibilities and selected poems from three sources: ?Words for the Wind? (1958), ?I Am! Says the Lamb? (1961), and ?The Far Field? (1964), for these six settings. Roethke?s linguistic breakthroughs and both his comical and serious temperament are clearly shown in these short lyrics, ranging from the nonsensical and lighthearted to the folk-like and dramatic.

The musical context evolves from the strophic (Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 6) to the through-composed (Nos. 4 and 5), unfolding in relatively straight-forward settings in keeping with the personal nature of the poetry: its penchant to turn onto the effort of the self to ?make an original relation with the universe,? in Emerson?s phrase.

It was commissioned by Allyn Muth, soprano (and first performed by her with Mr. Ratcliff). The orchestral transcription was commissioned by the American soprano, Carol Webber. The twenty-minute piece was orchestrated in the Spring of 1994 in Fairport, New York, from the original 1982-84 piano versions. The chamber orchestra settings are dedicated to Ms. Webber and to my wife Elizabeth, on the occasion of our 39th wedding anniversary.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Commission Allyn Muth
Composition Date 1994
Duration 00:20:00
Orchestration 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn) - 2 2 1(B.Tbn.) 0; 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Premiere 16th October, 1994. Carol Webber, Mezzo-soprano, Kilbourn Orchestra, conducted by Sydney Hodkinson, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY.


The Kitty-Cat Bird: con vivezza
Wish for a Young Husband: con suavita
The Chums: con anima
Is Pain a Promise?: con duolo
The Slow Tick of Time: con gravita
The Apparition: con semplicita