Wherewith I Strive
Duration (in minutes): 12
Difficulty: Medium (college/community)
Category: small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble
Instruments: any female voice, any medium voice, any string, any voice, any woodwind, flute, harp, mezzo soprano, piccolo
Publisher: Subito Music Corporation
Description: 2002. “Wherewith I strive…” was composed between 1982 and 1995. It is in four movements. The first and fourth are “Songs,” – short, mostly tonal, with straightforward phrases. They surround a larger second movement that sets a fragment of the Book of Job. This movement is largely atonal and really forms the center of the piece. The third movement is a flute Interlude.
The two “songs” (first and fourth movements) feature very rhythmic poems. The first one is an Epigram by the Elizabethan poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt. It is short and introduces some of the emotional tone of the piece. The brisk and perhaps cheery music contrasts with the text’s overt self-pitying despair.
The last song is by a contemporary poet, Phillis Levin.