A Handful of Days
A Handful of Days
song cycle for female voice and piano (1988)
Premiere: 25 January 2017 / Knutson Studios, Berlin, Germany / Stephanie Weiss, soprano / Christina Wright-Ivanova, piano
Instrumentation: female voice and piano
Text: Kim Addonizio (E)
The Second Night
Composed in 1987-1989 at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, San Francisco, and in New York City, the cycle limns the full course of a brief liaison. Addonizio's characteristically frank, sensually compelling poetry is paired with sophisticated, heartfelt music ranging from the expressionistic to the neo-romantic.
The cycle, dedicated to the poet, was first completed in 1988, then revised in 1989 and orchestrated for soprano and orchestra. After submitting it to several conductors, Hagen withdrew the cycle for further revisions. Hagen then folded the voice part into the orchestra and turned the cycle into a suite for orchestra (now withdrawn) called Beauty and Desire. At that point, in fall 1989, the sketches of the voice and piano version were thought lost along with a number of other manuscripts, during a move from Greenwich Village to the Upper West Side. All that survived was a single print of the orchestral score.
Hagen's assistant discovered the original sketches, along with the original letter of permission from the poet to to set the poems to music, in fall 2015 when E.C. Schirmer returned to Hagen a number of Hagen's manuscripts that had been found in storage at their facility in Boston when the company was sold to the Canticle Publishing Group. After singing and playing through the cycle, Hagen lightly revised the manuscript, engraved it, and presented it to University of Nevada Las Vegas faculty artists Stephanie Weiss and Christina Wright-Ivanova, who will premiere the cycle sometime during the 2016-2017 season.