SOLO VOICE & PIANO
CONCERT HALL SPIRITUALS
Ten arrangements of African-American spirituals written for concert and church use. Arranged as art songs, these works include well-crafted accompaniments that add to the meaning of each text.
Victor Labenske shares four original sacred songs for solo high voice and piano. These solos, using familiar lyrics, work very well for church and recital use. TItles include:
I'd Rather Have Jesus
I Lay My Sins on Jesus
Prayer of St. Francis
Take the World, but Give Me Jesus.
MARY SPEAKS OF HER SON
This song cycle for female voice features poems from Carl Winderl’s book of Marian poetry, Mary Speaks of Her Son, providing a rich collection from which the composer has chosen five poems to set. Each poem is spoken in the first person by Mary, the mother of Christ.
The composer has used a number of unifying devices throughout the cycle. First, the composer includes quotes from bothGregorian chant (italicized titles) and Protestant hymnody (capitalized hymntune names) drawing on the influence of the poet’s early religious instruction; this training came from Winderl’s two grandmothers who on alternating Sundays took him to both Catholic and Protestant churches. In addition, a “Mary motive”derived from solfege (Ma-ri-A) appears in each song (the cycle’s opening 3notes in the vocal line) which coincidentally is the retrograde inversion of Bernstein’s “Maria” motive in WestsideStory. Finally, references to thecross are represented symbolically with the octatonic pitch set.
Katie Manning’s award-winning poetry collection, Tasty Other, is divided into nine sections,
symbolic of the human gestational period. The nine poems chosen for this cycle are all inspired
by the poet’s dreams during pregnancy, denoted in the collection of poetry by the opening title
word, “The.” The phrase, “Once upon a time, there was a mother” opens each of the sections
with a respective footnote for each of the nine words. These footnotes provide an invitation for a
dramatic song cycle with both soprano and pianist serving as actors in this dramatic work.