wilbeau picture
by wilbeau
on April 10, 2017

Editing creates more and more sense out of a work or text. Everything in a piece is there for more than one reason; a chord might support the melody and develop a counter melody. An inner voice might give breathing room to the main tune but add a small, unexpected surprise to the texture.

I have just re-imagined a set of songs originally written over 20 years ago and observe that the harmonies were chosen often to clash with the vocal line. They were chords and clusters selected with joy, I was happy just to play them so long ago, but now I work to meld them into a cohesive shape.

Composition Date: 2017
Duration: 00:20:35
Genre: Solo Voice, With Solo Instrument, , Plectral String(s)

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Guitar
  • 1 x Mezzo Soprano
Click here to download full work (7.92 Mb - Not printable)

Programme Note:
After-Thoughts is Gwendolyn MacEwen’s final set of poems. The poems summarize her life, depicting the Toronto of her youth, her working class neighbours, and the simple joy of seeing the late afternoon light at Sherbourne and Bloor. There are seventeen poems in the cycle and the final one ends with a letter from a cosmic city, signed “ Regards, Gwendolyn.”

I have chosen five of the poems and have re-sequenced the texts to suit changes of mood and tempo. The opening work is a theosophical meditation and is followed by a song filled with dreamlike yearning. The centerpiece depicts a quirky, local character whose imagined life is filled with surprises. 1958 is a snarky reflection of high school life in the 1950’s, and the final song ruminates on the wonders of every day life.

For three of the poems the titles are such an integral part of the of the text that I have the singer deliver it in a defined, spoken rhythm. The second piece has numerous iterations of the title within the text. For the final song, the title occurs in the penultimate line making for a suitable ending.

This song cycle was developed with mezzo-soprano Ali Garrison, whose patience, joy and determination helped me finish shaping the work. The cycle was premiered at the Canadian Music Centre September 27, 2014 and subsequently performed at Gallery 345 on May 29, 2015.

Premiere Information:
27 September 2014, Canadian Music Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Ali Garrison, mezzo-soprano; William Beauvais, guitar

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MV 1102 B385aft
  • Genre:
  • Solo Voice, With Solo Instrument, , Plectral String(s)
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • January 24, 2017
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • Score
    19 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • I. Sunday Morning Sermon -- II. You Know Me -- III. The Man with Three Violins -- IV. 1958 -- V. Sunlight at Sherbourne and Bloor
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TitleDetailsPriceAdd this Product
After-Thoughts for mezzo-soprano and guitar: Score
Score
(downloadable PDF)
$13.99
After-Thoughts for mezzo-soprano and guitar by William Beauvais (Score)
Printed on demand
$17.99
After-Thoughts for mezzo-soprano and guitar
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Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto, Calgary






Composition Date: 2015
Duration: 00:06:00
Genre: Solo Voice, With Solo Instrument, , Keyboards

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piano
  • 1 x Soprano
Click here to download full work (7.29 Mb - Not printable)

Programme Note:
This companion-piece to Penelope (2014) is also an homage to Harold Arlen’s Stormy Weather (lyrics by Ted Koehler), which begins:
Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain't together,
Keeps rainin' all of the time
It’s a poignant, yearning love-song, one that Kalypso – the nymph/demi-god of Homer’s Odyssey – could well have sung. After the storm which shipwrecked him on his way home from Troy to Ithaca (and to his waiting wife, Penelope) Odysseus was swept off-course to Kalypso’s island, and she held him there (against his will, but not really) for seven years, with some combination of seduction, timely bad weather that prevented sailing, and general relaxation and good times. Eventually, the greater gods grew frustrated with her and sent him on his way home, to Penelope. I’d imagined Penelope’s experience – her long vigil on the headland, her fierce, tenacious loyalty – as a sort of torch song, a language I explore even further here. Kalypso’s plea-apostrophe is set in a warm, tender, jazz-rich, Chopin-esque language in which the beat is blurred through long, decorative vocal lines and strange Monteverdian speech-stammer word-breakdown – which hints at something stranger and more peculiar in her powers. There are many musical connections here with Penelope, particularly in both pieces’ middle sections, which reach for something more bare and visionary. Each woman calls out to Odysseus, tries to summon him back to her, and in this moment their music speaks in the same tongue. Kalypso (whose name shares its root with "apocalypse": to cover, conceal, hide, deceive) was also a demi-god of death, one who drew the veil between reality and the afterlife.The opening vocalise should be extremely free. The repeated notes and long melismatic lines should gesture towards jazz scat singing; generally the repeated vowels focus on “i” (“I”, “why” “night” etc.; marked with tenutos): they should be delicate, decorative, spontaneous, and seductively strange.

Premiere Information:
13 May 2016, American Opera Projects, Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.
Tookah Sapper, soprano; Kelly Horsted, piano.

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MV 1101 L782kal
  • Genre:
  • Solo Voice, With Solo Instrument, , Keyboards
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • October 6, 2016
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • Score
    9 Pages
    Height: 30 cm
    Width: 23 cm
  • Language Information
  • Main language: English
  • Additional Information:
  • Text by Duncan McFarlane
    Commissioned by: American Opera Projects
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Suggest Modification for this Record

Available For:

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  • Purchase
Available Products for this piece:

TitleDetailsPriceAdd this Product
Kalypso for soprano and piano: Score
Score
(downloadable PDF)
$9.99
Kalypso for soprano and piano by Cecilia Livingston (Score)
Printed on demand
$12.99
Kalypso for soprano and piano
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