Soprano and orchestra–16′

A moody and evocative setting for soprano and chamber orchestra of James Wright’s poem, “The Assignation.”

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The Assignation

Soprano solo
Chamber orchestra (1(picc),EH (oboe),1,1  1,1,1 T/perc (1 player) hp cel strings
Duration: 16′
This score has not been premiered. Contact DET

Program Note

Born in Martins Ferry, Ohio to a glass factory worker and a laundress, James Wright (1927-1980) was one of a group of influential American poets who came of age after the second World War.  Wright studied at Kenyon College and the University of Washington, receiving the Ph.D., and later Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships.  A close personal friend of Donald Hall and Robert Bly, Wright taught literature at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s, then, after that institution denied him tenure, at Hunter College. The Assignation is an early poems, appearing in Wright’s volume, The Green Wall, a collection of formalist verse that was awarded the Yale Younger Poets Prize.

Text excerpt

After the winter thawed away, I rose,
Remembering what you said.  Below the field
Where I was dead, the crinkled leaf and blade
Summoned my body, told me I must go.
Across the road I saw some other dead
Revive their little fires, and bow the head
To someone still alive and long ago.
Low in the haze a pall of smoke arose.
. . . .




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