composing Rounding the Human Corners

January 17, 2017

The next set of blog posts will reflect a recent work I have composed. Each song from the project will be presented in turn. Because singing sends thoughts into the soul of another person, the choice of text is vital. I look for texts that reflect my notion of the sacred: the wonder of life, love of children, and our need for community. It is a privilege to take such notions into meaningful lyric expressions.

Rounding the Human Corners is a poetic cycle that reflects a trip Hogan took in 2002 with Brenda Peterson and the journey was chronicled in Sightings: The Gray Whales’ Mysterious Journey. The migration route started in Baja, California and ended in Alaska. Much of this journey was on boats and titles in this cycle include Sounding the Depths, Whale Rising and The Radiant -which refers to the Manta Ray. I have found that several of the texts fall naturally into sea shanty metres. Given the amount of time spent on boats during that journey, it is possible that the waves of the ocean may set such a metric sensibility into the imagination.

Restless was the second text that I worked on and is a breezy and light-hearted, musing about always walking toward something. It ends with the thought that even at the end of life one could leave their skin clothes lying empty and still travel on. It is a good choice for song number two in the cycle, the tempo is slightly quicker than for the opener, and creates an unsettled feel for the legato lines.

The singer on this recording is the marvelous Toronto Mezzo soprano Maria Soulis and Alan Bell is responsible for the recording.