Wind Shadows


Wind Shadows is a song cycle for soprano, clarinet and piano, which I composed for soprano Kristin Samuelson in 1990. The cycle is a setting of four poems by D.H. Lawrence. The first song, Mystic Blue, juxtaposes large tonal areas in a moderate tempo with some forward momentum created by rocking motion in the piano. All three instruments are equally involved in the first song. The second song, for voice and piano only, Piano, is about a man who remembers sitting at his mother’s feet when he was a child while she played the piano. The piano in this case plays something that sounds like a solo in the background more than an accompaniment while the voice floats above it, evoking the quality of reminiscence and nostalgia. The third song, for voice and clarinet only, is a dryly humorous setting of Lawrence’s ironic poem The English Are So Nice! The capricious figuration of the clarinet is in stark contrast to the rather terse vocal declamations. It should be sung with a British accent if possible. The mood indication is “Nice, but not too nice...,” which is a bit of advice from the poem as to how the English should be handled. The last song, A Baby Running Barefoot, again for all three instruments, has a background of rippling moto perpetuo arpeggiations in the piano, while the clarinet and voice sustain more lyrical lines above and through the transparent wash of color the piano provides. The soft, yet rhythmic quality of the first line of this fourth poem was the impetus for the entire cycle: “When the bare feet of the baby beat across the grass...”

Selected Performances of Wind Shadows

Premiere: December 13, 1992 Kristin Samuelson, soprano, Ed Gilmore, clarinet, Richard Duncan, piano, Nicholas Roerich Museum, NYC

© John Carbon 2015