Premiere: Lara Gagrica, soprano, Kevin Wilt, piano. Michigan State University, 2010.
Text: Sara Teasdale and Langston Hughes
Duration: 13 minutes
Instrumentation: voice and piano
Seven Songs Under the Moon were written with the idea of incorporating elements of popular music into the genre of art songs. Each song contains musical ideas that are meant to be easily accessible, while at the same time, help create a picture and atmosphere that properly support the text. The poems, written by two early twentieth century Americans, lend themselves well to being set in a musical style that attempts to be in the same vein as George Gershwin or Cole Porter. Due to this desired aesthetic, it would be ideal for the vocalist to approach this piece in more of a broadway or popular style, and less of an operatic one.
The texts have also been assembled to create a larger programmatic structure. The poems are each set at various times of night, and from the perspectives of various characters. The first few poems take place around dusk, the next few in the middle of the night and the last few at dawn. Together, they form a story arch that could conceivably take place in one night, where each of the various characters finds themselves in a different scenario.