Garden Abstract (1976)
Music: Roger Bourland
Poetry: Hart Crane
Conductor: Thomas Toscano; NEC grad students
Publisher: Yelton Rhodes Music, Los Angeles
In “Garden Abstract” I figured out how to weave voices together in a better harmonic way, making it easier to sing. The piece was premiered on a graduate composers concert at the New England Conservatory in 1977 and my colleagues actually liked it. The faculty liked it by choosing for performance at the commencement, the performance you hear here. The women singing it are all opera divas and brought their skill to each interwoven line. They were ON for this performance.
In the Hart Crane poem, the intoxicating hook for me was the image of Eve looking at the apple with great desire and lust; that hovering, dreamlike, and almost uncontrollable feeling one gets.
This was the last gnarly piece for chorus I composed. After this, I switched to the language of the Dickinson Madrigals.