5 Victorian Songs (Fine, Vivian)
The Capitol Chamber Artists
Janet Stasio, soprano; Mary Lou Saetta, violin and viola;
Irvin Gilman, flute; Charles Stancampiano, clarinet; Ann Alton, cello
Vivian Fine Estate
|Work Title||Five Victorian Songs|
|Year/Date of Composition||1988|
|First Performance||1988-03-04 at Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont.
|Average Duration||17 minutes|
|Instrumentation||Soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello|
Commissioned by the Capitol Chamber Artists
Fifty-five years earlier Fine wrote Four Songs (1933) for soprano and string quartet, then The Great Wall of China (1947) for soprano, flute, violin, cello, and piano, followed by The Confession (1963), for soprano, flute, strings, and piano, the stunning Missa Brevis for Four Cellos and Taped Voice (1972), and the more recent Ode to Henry Purcell (1984) a song cycle for soprano and string quartet.
Five Victorian Songs is in the same tradition of her most challenging music….Fine was careful to observe rhythmic subtleties of the texts, generally writing syllabically and aiming for vocal clarity. Her recent contrapuntal emphasis is apparent…however, there is a greater unity between the singer and instruments than before.
Each song has a unifying feature. In 'Cadmus and Harmonia' by Matthew Arnold, the flute and clarinet have snakelike figures portraying Cadmus’s and Harmonia’s final state while the violin doubles the soprano….In the other songs Fine has a previous vocal melody be an instrumental counterpoint to a new vocal line. In 1991 she scored the collection as Four Victorian Songs for piano and voice, thinning the canonic textures and omitting one of the poems.
- —Heidi Von Gunden, The Music of Vivian Fine, Scarecrow Press, 1999