Marilyn Bliss


Year: 1978

Duration (in minutes): 12'

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: larger chamber ensembles - more than 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble

Instruments: alto flute, cello, English horn, flute, harp, horn, oboe, percussion, piccolo, soprano, tenor voice, violin

Publisher: American Composers Alliance

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Description: Shadowflowers is an unstaged psychodrama for soprano, tenor, and chamber ensemble. The text, assembled from the poetry of Stefan George, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Guillaume Apollinaire, concerns two beautiful, yet repulsive, artificial worlds. George's poem, from "Algabal," used in its entirety, presents to the reader an underground garden, beautiful but completely artificial, black, and dead. In Mallarmé's "Hérodiade," excerpted here, the reader encounters a beautiful virgin, living in a world of white and jewels, allowing nothing to touch her. The poems are sung together, commenting on each other while carrying on their own dramatic senses. Another factor in choosing the text was the constant recurrence of the words "shadow" and "flower" in all excerpts, which contributes to the black/white, dark/bright imagery. The music is in two unbroken sections, following the shape of the text. Shadowflowers was performed at the Tanglewood Festival.

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