Time with Eloise Klein Healy

June 10, 2009

Vox Femina, one of the great women’s chorus in America, received a grant from the City of West Hollywood to commission a composer. They chose me!

Iris Levine brought me a stack of books by women poets who live around LA, and I chose Eloise Klein Healy. I have been in Palm Springs setting as many as I can get done in three days. So far, three and a half.

It is fun getting to musically “know” a poet for the first time. Trying to figure out what the tone is, and whether to go with it or provide a contrast to it. Is she being funny here? or ironic? Would she mind if I put another word (i.e. syllable) here for rhythm’s sake? Different poets bring out different kinds of melodies from a composer. Having already written two sets of madrigals by Mexican/American poet, Francisco X Alarcon, the music I’ve written for Vox to date has a bit of a south-of-the-border feel to it. Eloise’s poetry, not so much. She has witty sense of humor. For some odd reason, I find myself wanting to write counterpoint with Healy’s poetry.

As I set and copy each poem, I make a PDF of the score, the text, and a mock up/mp3 of the music, and send it to Eloise, Iris, and my husband. Hot off the press.

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