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Fragments (1992)

for SATB chorus, brass quintet, and piano
duration: 20 minutes

 

Fragments was commissioned by the Columbia Pro Cantare to commemorate its 15th anniversary and is dedicated to Frances Motyca Dawson and the Columbia Pro Cantare. It was premiered in March, 1992. The work has received critical praise, cited for its “contrapuntal richness and structural variety” and “natural and fluent…use of traditional melody and tonality.”

Fragments is a set of eleven songs using as text English translations by Guy Davenport of poems (and fragments of poems) by two Greek Bronze Age poets, Archilochos and Sappho. The subject matter of the poems covers a wide range: war, mystery, nostalgia, love, and isolation. The fourth piece (which I have titled "I Wouldn't Be Surprised") is a satire on the overreaction of the general public to an eclipse. And the sixth, "May He Lose His Way," is a curse, directed against a man who took back his word. The word in question was the promise of his daughter in marriage, and the daughter was the "Neobulé" referred to in the next song.

 
Listen

1. "War" + 2. "Long Ago"
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3. "How Many Times"
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4. "I Wouldn’t Be Surprised" + 5. "Thief and the Night"
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6. "May He Lose His Way"
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7. "Neobulé’s Hand"
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8. "With Eyes Like That" + 9. "Sometimes"
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10. "Doves" + 11. "And the Heart is Pleased"
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