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Approximate Duration: 25'
Afterlife is a song cycle exploring different perspectives of death through the eyes of three women poets: Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, and contemporary Phoenix poet Judith Wolfe. Premiered in January 2013 by the Phoenix Symphony under the direction of Michael Christie.
A Shade upon the mind there passes
As when on Noon
A Cloud the mighty Sun encloses
That some there be too numb to notice
Why give if Thou must take away
“Don’t Let Them Throw Away the Clothes” by Judith Wolf
He lives in the closet now
among the shoes and shirts,
hanging over the dirty laundry
where he used to toss his
used up pants.
I visit his coat on Monday
but save the tux for Saturday
and then pretend to dance
among a crowd
with only the robe
“After Death” by Christina Rossetti
The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept
And strewn with rushes, rosemary and may
Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay,
Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept.
He leaned above me, thinking that I slept
And could not hear him; but I heard him say:
"Poor child, poor child:" and as he turned away
Came a deep silence, and I knew he wept.
He did not touch the shroud, or raise the fold
That hid my face, or take my hand in his,
Or ruffle the smooth pillows for my head:
He did not love me living; but once dead
He pitied me; and very sweet it is
To know he still is warm though I am cold.
INSTRUMENTATION2 flutes (2nd = piccolo)
2 Bb clarinets (2nd = bass clarinet)
2 bassoons (2nd = contrabassoon)
4 horns in F
3 C trumpets
1 tenor trombone
1 bass trombone
laptop (see performance notes)
percussion (3 players)
piano / celesta
mezzo soprano soloist