Soft Summer Airs (2010) piano solo 9′

  • To the Summer House (2003) 2′
  • Bright Wings! (2002) 2′
  • Seated in the Rain (1992) 3′
  • Now the Heart Sings (2000) 2′
  • The Clear Water of Our Hearts (2005) 1′

Program Note

photo of composer and pianist at premiere of summer pieces

DET with pianist Mimi Tung

This 2010 collection brings together five small pieces—each three pages at most—on summery themes. The title comes from a familiar song “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”: …”floating, like a vapor, on the soft summer air.” To the Summer House was a gift to the dear Twin Cities-pianist Thelma Hunter after a 2003 Music in the Park concert. It turns out that Thelma and her late husband Sam did indeed have a summer house on their Mendota Heights property. You may recognize a paraphrase of Mendelssohn’s famous bit “Oh, for the wings, for the wings of a dove” in Bright Wings!, for Nell Slater. It takes as a point of departure lines from Hopkins’s poem “God’s Grandeur”:

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; . . . . Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with, ah! bright wings.

Seated in the Rain was composed in the wake of a tragic event many years ago. Now the Heart Sings was a present for broadcasting friends Amy Roach and Martin Goldsmith on their first wedding anniversary. The Clear Water of Our Hearts was a wedding present for pianist Shannon Wettstein and William Sadler. The title borrows a line from one of Mr. Sadler’s poems.