Lonely Hearts-SM (download)


Soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano–14′

A funny duo cycle for soprano and mezzo on the complications of modern love, based on the whimsical poems of Wendy Cope.

Listen to Maria Jette, Adriana Zabala, and Timothy Lovelace, piano, perform movements 1, 3-5 and 9. Posted courtesy of the Source Song Festival and the artists.

Click image below for a full page preview of the score:



Lonely Hearts (Duo song cycle)

Duo song cycle for soprano, mezzo and piano
14′ duration
Text: Wendy Cope, from Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis and Serious Concerns.
Premiere—2008, by Sara Williamson Kantor, Lawrence Weller and Claudia Chen, Minneapolis, MN.
50 pages

  1. A Simple Wish (S & B)
  2. A Serious Person (S)
  3. Reading Scheme (S & B)
  4. Advertisement (B)
  5. The Orange (S & B)

Program note

In July 2007 I found a little book of poems by Wendy Cope in a bookstore in Aberaeron, Wales. Born near London in 1945, Cope was a primary school teacher before going freelance in 1986. She achieved recognition right away, receiving a Cholmondeley Award and the Braude Award for Light Verse by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995. She is now a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Cope’s poems are direct, concise and above all, funny. Her formal verse catches the most casual contemporary detail. She looks at the world with the eyes of a child, but then the child speaks in Dorothy Parker’s voice. And her wit spares no one.

In 2014, Maria Jette asked me to make an abridged version of Lonely Hearts for a performance at the Source Song Festival. Five of the songs appear here, making a sassy, gender-bending selection.

Lonely Hearts is dedicated to Sara Williamson Kantor, Lawrence Weller and Claudia Chen.

“I very much enjoyed listening to the songs. I like the way you’ve managed to bring out the humour in my poems—it’s great to hear the audience laughing. I like all your settings, but I think my favourite is The Uncertainly of the Poet.” Wendy Cope, email to the composer, 2009



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