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The Silken Tent

This art song is a setting of Robert Frost’s sonnet, “The Silken Tent.” The text struck me as dreamy and lyrical, almost surreal in its imagery. Frost juxtaposes a silken tent with the most mundane and uniform of settings-a field; thus the woman represented is a true individual, towering above a sea of uniformity. She might float straight up into the heavens, if it were not for the bondage of “countless silken ties of love and thought” — a bondage of which she is made aware when one of her cords is strained in the capricious breeze. In the music, the piano takes on the dreamy, lyrical role, with a constant stream of sixteenths creating a sense of the sameness of the field; the voice represents the tent and its changing relationship to the field. The voice leaps up, as though soaring up into heaven and nearly escaping from the field (the piano drops out), but its bondage is realized — the tent tries to stay higher up, but is invariably pulled back down, soon reestablishing its dynamic with the field.

Due to copyright restrictions, this piece is not available for ticketed performance, publication, or CD release. The text may be read online at americanpoems.com.

 

INSTRUMENTATION
Medium Voice and Piano

DURATION
3 1/2 minutes

DATE
2002, rev. 2003

PREMIERE
February 24, 2002
New Music Ensemble concert
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Rumya Putcha (soprano), Susana Cavallo (piano)

AWARDS
2005 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Student Composition Contest

RECORDING
Live Recording
Not commercially available
Kimberly Lauritsen (mezzo-soprano), Kris Rucinski (piano)

DEMONSTRATION SCORES & RECORDINGS
Not available.

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