Trilogy: Song of Songs

for Soprano, Baritone, Ensemble and Tape

Ralph Shapey

Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

On October 6, 1978, I received the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation Commission from The Library of Congress. The result of that commission is the realization of a work which has been in my mind for a very long time. Song of Songs, I, which is scored for soprano, 14 instruments and tapes was composed in response to that commission between the dates of December 2, 1978 and June 18, 1979.

Text for the composition is from the Biblical Song of Songs. I have conceived the work in its entirety as a trilogy:
Song of Songs, I for soprano, 14 instruments and tape. (Shulamite)
Song of Songs, II for bass/baritone, 14 instruments and tape (Solomon)
Song of Songs, III for soprano, bass/baritone, 14 instruments and tap (Solomon and Shulamite together)

I conceive of the trilogy as a whole single entity of passionate love. Ideally, the entire piece should be performed that way, although the three parts can also be presented as separate works.

As for descriptions of the music itself- I have none. I hope and believe the music will speak for itself. That is the ultimate criterion.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Commission Commission Information: No. 1: Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation
Composition Date 1979-80
Duration 01:30:00
Orchestration Sop. Bari. soli; 1 1 1 1 - 1 1 1 1; Perc. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.; Tape
Premiere Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago, Elsa Charlston, soprano, Ralph Shapey, conductor. No. 1: February 29, 1980, Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress. Nos. 2 & 3: April 24, 1981, Mandel Hall, Chicago.


I - Shulamite's Love for Solomon
II - Solomon's Love for Shulamite
III - Solomon and Shulamite Together