Tiger Psalms
7 Jun 2011
Tiger Psalms, commissioned by the excellent Fulcrum Point New Music Project and premiered by that ensemble, conductor (and Artistic Director) Stephen Burns, and mezzo soprano Julia Bentley, at the Harris Theatre in Chicago, blends three otherwise unrelated Ted Hughes texts which--as he was wont to do--explore the human experience (not always favorably) through the prism of the wild, natural world. In this case, the Tiger, the Wolf and the mythical Phoenix. I have separated the stanzas of the Tiger poem, and inserted the Howling of Wolves, followed by And the Phoenix Has Come, so that the return to Tiger Psalms unifies this text and emphasizes the transformative power of these words. The work is scored for mezzo soprano and seven instruments, divided into two sets of three instruments, blending with the keyboard, to create three distinct sound worlds for the mezzo soprano soloist to inhabit. The (muted) trumpet, clarinet and bass define the Howling of Wolves, while the flute (piccolo)

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