work details

And the Barriers Had Vanished

  • Instrumentation: soprano and cello
  • Completed: December 2011
  • Duration: 25 minutes
  • Texts: Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) from 'A Mightier than Mammon' in "Towards Democracy" (1918); "Timarion" Meleager (1st century BCE) from Poems of Meleager (1890) trs. Walter Headlem; C.P. Cavafy (1863-1932) "He Asked About the Quality"; John Symonds
  • Video:
    • And the Barriers Had Vanished - Movement 4 - "He asked about the quality"

    • And the barriers had vanished

      Rachel Mikol, soprano
      Graham Cullen, cello

  • Audio:
    • And the Barriers Had Vanished - I: Prelude / II: And this is of a boy who sat in school

      Meredith Mecum and Justin Dougherty, recorded at the University of Georgia, April 2012

    • And the Barriers Had Vanished - III: Timarion

      Meredith Mecum and Justin Dougherty, recorded at the University of Georgia, April 2012

    • And the Barriers Had Vanished - IV: He asked about the quality

      Meredith Mecum and Justin Dougherty, recorded at the University of Georgia, April 2012

    • And the Barriers Had Vanished - V: Clifton and a Lad's Love

      Meredith Mecum and Justin Dougherty, recorded at the University of Georgia, April 2012

    • And the Barriers Had Vanished - VI: Alexis

      Meredith Mecum and Justin Dougherty, recorded at the University of Georgia, April 2012

    • And the Barriers Had Vanished - VII: Postlude: "And the barriers had vanished"

      Meredith Mecum and Justin Dougherty, recorded at the University of Georgia, April 2012

  • Published:

    DD3 Publications, Distributed by Graphite Publishing

  • Commission:

    Commissioned by and dedicated to Justin Dougherty, violoncellist and Meredith Mecum, soprano.

    2013 Boston Metro Opera "Advocacy Award" - Art Song / Song Cycle Category

  • Movement / Song Titles:

    1, 2. Prelude / And this is of a boy who sat in school
    3. Timarion
    4. He asked about the quality
    5. Clifton and a Lad's Love
    6. Alexis
    7. Postlude: "And the barriers had vanished"

  • Program Note:

    The genesis of this project is remarkably serendipitous. Justin had been on the lookout for openly-gay composers who might be interested in writing works for his Queering the Pitch recital series. It just so happens that he found my website through a friend and felt compelled to write me an email to gauge my interest in the project. Inspired by the thought of writing a song cycle for soprano and violoncello, I responded quickly that I would be most delighted to do so!

    “And the barriers had vanished” is an exploration of the many facets of love in hiding. The texts are diverse, drawn from a selection of poets whose words touch on themes of passion, coming-of-age, secrecy, forbidden desire, and exultation. The music is mostly my own, with the exception of the fifth song. There I borrow the entirety of the “Andante lento” from Benjamin Britten’s Second Suite for Cello, Op. 80, so that I may allow the text to draw parallels with Britten’s own internal conflicts. As with the Britten, I have recently been fascinated with the layering of new material over older musical material. I do the same thing to my own original music between the Prelude and the Postlude, where the soprano voice can no longer hold in her glee, but must interrupt the former violoncello solo to proclaim her joy.

    The music is dedicated gratefully to Meredith and Justin.

  • Performances:
    • March 16, 2012 (Premiere)
      Meredith Mecum, soprano and Justin Dougherty, violoncello
      Penn State University - University Park, PA
    • March 30, 2012 
      Meredith Mecum, soprano and Justin Dougherty, violoncello
      Lone Star College-Montgomery - Conroe, TX
    • April 27, 2012 
      Meredith Mecum, soprano and Justin Dougherty, violoncello
      University of Georgia - Athens, GA
    • May 24, 2012 
      Meredith Mecum, soprano and Justin Dougherty, violoncello
      Midtown Scholars Bookstore - Harrisburg, PA
    • May 31, 2012 
      Meredith Mecum, soprano and Justin Dougherty, violoncello
      Music at Salem - Salem, NY
    • October 10, 2012
      unMET: Opera for the 21st Century
      Juventas New Music Ensemble
      Anna Ward, soprano & Michael Dahlberg, cello 
      Erin Huelskamp, director; Lidiya Yankovskaya, musical director
      Bentley University - Executive Dining Room LaCava Campus Center - Waltham, MA
    • October 31, 2012
      unMET: Opera for the 21st Century
      Juventas New Music Ensemble
      Anna Ward, soprano & Michael Dahlberg, cello 
      Erin Huelskamp, director; Lidiya Yankovskaya, musical director
      Club Oberon - Cambridge, MA
    • June 17, 2014
      International Festival for Contemporary Performance
      Mannes College of Music
      Meredith Mecum, soprano & Justin Dougherty, violoncello
      Mannes Concert Hall - 150 W 8th St - New York, NY 
    • January 18, 2017
      Rachel Mikol, soprano and Graham Cullen, cello
      Faculty Art Song Recital
      Auer Concert Hall - IU Jacobs School of Music - Bloomington, IN