Cummings Songs

four songs for tenor and harpsichord

1979

9 minutes

Poems: e. e. cummings

Premiere: Warren Hoffer, tenor
John Metz, harpsichord
Arizona State University, Tempe
March 29, 1981

Songs:
1. my sweet old etcetera aunt lucy
2. a pretty a day
3. mr youse needn't be so spry
4. if i have made, my lady, intricate

Composer Notes: Tenor Warren Hoffer commissioned these songs in order to meet a visiting harpsichordist, Mary Pendleton. They later became husband and wife.

Inspired by Cummings’s language and the personal nature of the commission, I incorporated vernacular musical elements into the songs. The results fascinated me, and after that I often mixed vernacular elements into my work.