The title Songs of My Nights parallels the title of Li-Young Lee’s collection of poems Book of My Nights. I have selected a few lines from his poem Out of Hiding as a motto for my music: “…the quiet seemed my true name, a near and inaudible singing born of hidden ground.”
This music was composed as a gift for Kim Risinger and Alison Franzetti, in recognition of the extraordinary musicianship, but also as a thank-you for their amazing performance and recording of my Duo for Flute and Piano. Unlike the Duo, written in 1972, Songs of My Nights contains no technical fireworks. Each brief song is intimate and interior. Each is a revisiting of older music – two songs of my own from 1975 (“December 11” Anne Sexton Songs) and 1996 (“I am Smeared with the Tar of Night” Black Dog Songs), and a madrigal from 1605 by Claudio Monteverdi (“T’amo, mia vita”) – and each has been recomposed to make this music for flute and piano. I have reworked the madrigal the most extensively, although great care has been taken to maintain the language and character of the original. The titles Echo and Shadow and “…and what about the heart, counting alone, out loud…” are from poems by Li-Young-Lee.
Program Note by David Maslanka