song cycle for two female voices and cello (2004)
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23 September 2005
Church of Saint Matthew and Saint Timothy, New York, NY
Gilda Lyons, soprano / Elaine Valby, mezzo / Robert La Rue, cello
Sappho (trans. by Mary Barnard), adapted by the composer (E)
The Sappho Songs were composed during the autumn of 2004 during a residency in Italy and completed in New York City in December of the same year. First, I asked Robert La Rue to choose a handful of Sappho poems and to arrange them into an emotionally and psychologically satisying sequence. Then I adapted the poetry (in the process superimposing six of the poems in order to form dialogues and inserting a reprise of one of them) as I would the text of a living librettist. The cycle was composed for Elaine Valby, Robert La Rue, and Gilda Lyons, who premiered it on 23 September 2005 in New York City.
— Daron Hagen, 2005