#3751: Unusual Song Cycles

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Sarah Kirkland Snider & Nathaniel Bellows

Listen to many unusual approaches to the song cycle, including music by Sarah Kirkland Snider from her collaborative work, “Unremembered,” and music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, from a Rashomon-like opera-theatre work based on an Ambrose Bierce short story.

From Sarah Kirkland Snider, hear selections from her song-cycle Unremembered,” featuring vocal performances by DM Stith, Shara Worden and Padma Newsome along with the Unremembered Orchestra (members of ACME, Alarm Will Sounds, ICE, The Knights, & So Percussion.) The text is by New-York-based poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows and evokes ghostly and beautiful happenings in and around a farm, its barn, and a river in rural Massachusetts.

Then, sample from David Lang’s opera-theatre piece based on an 1888 Ambrose Bierce story of the same name, "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.” Mixing arias with spoken text and melodies with tense drama, the story takes place in 1854 near Selma, Alabama, where a planter named Williamson has vanished without a trace while crossing a field. A Rashomon-like recounting of the story from many different perspectives on this disappearance plays out- why it had to happen, and what will happen now that there is a ‘hole’ where a man used to be.

Also, hear some of Phil Kline’s  “Zippo Songs,” art songs for rock band, with texts lifted from inscriptions by American GIs in Vietnam on army-issue Zippo lighters. Plus, there’s music by Philip Glass from his cycle, “Songs from Liquid Days,” with lyrics by Paul Simon -a mock-solemn meditation on the possible sources of an electrical hum in a room, and more. 

PROGRAM #3751– Unusual Song Cycles (First aired on 07/15/2015)             





David Lang & Mac Wellman

the Difficulty of Crossing a Field

David Lang - scene [poison ivy]: the fourth telling, excerpt [1:00]

Cantaloupe Music 21107

Sarah Kirkland Snider


The Estate [3:36]
The Barn [4:26]
The River [3:43]

New Amsterdam Records  NWAM 067

David Lang & Mac Wellman

the Difficulty of Crossing a Field

David Lang - scene [poison ivy]: the fourth telling [11:52]

Cantaloupe Music 21107

Paul Dresher

Dark Blue Circumstance

Night Songs: We Only Came – Dream Music [8:11]

New Albion #053
dresherensemble.org OR available as a download via Amazon.com 

Philip Glass / Paul Simon

Songs from Liquid Days

Changing Opinion [9:57]

Cbs Masterworks #39564
Available at arkivmusic.com

Phil Kline

Zippo Songs: Airs of War and Lunacy

Been to Hell [2:30]
If I Had a Farm [2:21]

Cantaloupe Music #21019