Three Songs Inspired by the Poems of William Blake (2019)
For baritone and viola
Instrumentation: baritone, viola
World premiere: Tyler Williams, baritone; Peter Cho, viola, 29 October 2019, Auer Hall, Indiana University, US
Inspired by all the writings written by William Blake, I took three poems of his to compose a suite, scoring for a baritone and a viola. I set the poems as the lyrics of the music, in various ways of repetition, augmentation and diminution. In “The Sick Rose”, I try to create a theatrical stage for the baritone to interact with the viola by adding whisper section for the text in a dramatic way. Both baritone and viola, in order to depict the struggle of love and empathy in “A Poison Tree”, play against each other some of the time, but also play together in other times. Especially for baritone, there is a clipped offset effect which creates a special timbre effect, emphasizing some of the lyrics. There is also a small portion of scat singing to add to the emotion of the character in the baritone part. Influenced by jazz music, the “Never Seek to Tell Thy Love” requires virtuosic jazz singing techniques. On the contrary, the viola acts as an echo to depict the feeling of the character from the bottom of heart. Both baritone and viola sometimes play against each other, sometimes play together in order to depict the struggle of the feeling of hiding and showing the deep-hearted love.