work details

Five Blake Lyrics

  • Instrumentation: Version 1: mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano; Version 2: baritone and piano; Version 3: mezzo-soprano and piano
  • Completed: December 2009
  • Duration: 15 minutes
  • Texts: William Blake (1757-1827), selected poems
  • Video:
    • Five Blake Lyrics (1/2)

      Performance from Kyle Siddons Masters Recital: April 2011

    • Five Blake Lyrics (2/2)

      Performance from Kyle Siddons Masters Recital: April 2011

  • Audio:
    • Five Blake Lyrics - I: Hear the Voice

      Baritone Kyle Siddons, mezzo-soprano Grace Allendorf, and pianist Mark McNeill, April 2011, Longy School of Music

    • Five Blake Lyrics - II: Cradle Song

      Baritone Kyle Siddons, mezzo-soprano Grace Allendorf, and pianist Mark McNeill, April 2011, Longy School of Music

    • Five Blake Lyrics - III: Love's Secret

      Baritone Kyle Siddons, mezzo-soprano Grace Allendorf, and pianist Mark McNeill, April 2011, Longy School of Music

    • Five Blake Lyrics - The Sick Rose

      Baritone Kyle Siddons, mezzo-soprano Grace Allendorf, and pianist Mark McNeill, April 2011, Longy School of Music

    • Five Blake Lyrics - To the Evening Star

      Baritone Kyle Siddons, mezzo-soprano Grace Allendorf, and pianist Mark McNeill, April 2011, Longy School of Music

  • Dedication:

    The original version is dedicated to Kyle Siddons and Mary Gerbi. The baritone version is dedicated to Kyle Siddons. The mezzo-soprano version is dedicated to Misha Penton.

  • Movement / Song Titles:
    1. Hear the Voice
    2. Cradle Song
    3. Love's Secret
    4. The Sick Rose
    5. To the Evening Star
  • Performance Note:

    The final song—To the Evening Star—is originally conceived to be a duet between Mezzo-soprano and Baritone. This is the ideal performance medium. The solo versions have been provided for use only in the event that a suitable duet partner can not be found.

  • Program Note (Baritone Version / Duet Version):

    “I first heard Kyle Siddons sing in 2005. At that time, I was blown away by his sheer musicality and vocal power in the upper register. I decided to write this cycle of songs for him and mezzo-soprano Mary Gerbi to perform. At Kyle’s request, I’ve also prepared the five songs in a baritone solo version. These Blake poems are fervent, passionate, distraught, bitter and gentle. Their text calls so achingly for a musical setting, and I hope only that I have done justice to Blake’s words with my own embellishments.”

  • Program Note (Mezzo-soprano Version):

    “I first met Misha Penton in April of 2010. At this time, she had heard me conduct a performance of the Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs with baritone Michael Walsh. Soon after, I sent her copies of my own songs, including these Blake lyrics, at the time arranged for both mezzo-soprano and baritone. Misha told me how much she enjoyed the songs and asked if she might perform one of the baritone selections at a song soirée. Two months later, I have decided to revise the cycle so that it might be performed by mezzo-soprano alone. So, while the original version was dedicated to my friends Kyle Siddons and Mary Gerbi, this mezzo-soprano version owes its genesis to Misha. The Blake poems herein are at times fervent, passionate, distraught, bitter, and gentle. Their text calls so achingly for a musical setting, and I hope only that I have done justice to Blake’s words with my own embellishments.”

  • Full Performances:
    • April 6, 2011 (Premiere)
      Kyle Siddons Masters Recital
      Kyle Siddons, baritone; Grace Allendorf, mezzo-soprano; Mark McNeill, piano
      Longy School of Music - Pickman Hall - Cambridge, MA
  • Partial Performances:
    • June 19, 2010
      Misha Penton, soprano; Nicole Niederer, piano
      Song Soirée - Private Residence - Houston, TX
    • August 31, 2010
      Longy School of Music Convocation
      Kyle Siddons, baritone; Caroline Harvey, piano
      Longy School of Music - Cambridge, MA
    • October 6, 2010
      Voices of America
      Grace Allendorf, mezzo-soprano; Caroline Harvey, piano
      Cathedral Church of St. Paul - Tremont Street - Boston, MA
    • June 10, 2011
      "Evening Star, Beauty Bringer..." 
      Misha Penton, soprano; Kyle Evans, piano
      The Rothko Chapel - Houston, TX