Kim Sherman

A Prairie Diary

Year: 2022

Duration (in minutes): 12

Difficulty: Medium (college/community)

Category: solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble

Instruments: any high voice, cello, piano

Publisher: Kim D. Sherman - Plumbers Daughter

Publisher website:

Outside URL:

Video Links:

Description: PROGRAM NOTE by Kim D. Sherman A Prairie Diary came about after playwright Darrah Cloud and I wrote a music-theater adaptation of Willa Cather’s first novel, “O Pioneers!” Our collaboration spanned over a three-year period of experimenting with putting the novel into theatrical form. One of the most challenging aspects of the project was how to use vocal music in the context of the stage production. The songs became part of a “Prairie Greek Chorus” which appears throughout the play. Many songs were tried and then rejected from the final version. It is those “rejected” songs that became the inspiration for this song cycle, although two of the songs (“Transformation Song” and “I Call Your Name”) are still used in the theatrical production. Settings of three poems by Willa Cather complete the cycle. The material in the text evokes images and feelings of my own roots in the Midwest. I wanted to give a voice to the vastness, the sky and the land, and to give a sound to the feeling of belonging to the dream of this country. And always, these words from “O Pioneers!” rang through my thoughts as I wrote the music: “For the first time, perhaps, since that land emerged from the waters of geologic ages, a human face was set toward it with love and yearning. It seemed beautiful to her, rich and strong and glorious. Her eyes drank in the breadth of it, until her tears blinded her. Then the Genius of the Divide, the great, free spirit which breathes across it, must have bent lower than it ever bent to a human will before. The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman.” – Willa Cather A Prairie Diary was originally written for piano, clarinet and baritone voice. I then transposed the cycle for Allison Charney, who has sung the piano and clarinet version many times, including on a 1998 recording with Ben Loeb for the DSC label. In 2016-2017, I removed the clarinet part and created a new part for cello and restructured the order of the movements for the ARK Trio. It is included in the ARK Trio's debut recording on the Navona label. To purchase score, please contact the composer.

array(8) { ["post_type"]=> array(3) { [0]=> string(7) "catalog" [1]=> string(5) " disc" [2]=> string(5) "video" } ["author_name"]=> NULL ["s"]=> NULL ["orderby"]=> string(5) "title" ["order"]=> string(3) "ASC" ["posts_per_page"]=> int(-1) ["tax_query"]=> array(1) { ["relation"]=> string(3) "AND" } ["meta_query"]=> array(1) { ["relation"]=> string(3) "AND" } }