Mystery: The Songs of Lori Laitman





The songs of


Lori Laitman






Lori Laitman


Lori Laitman was graduated magna cum laude, with honors in music, from Yale College, and received her M.M. in flute performance from the Yale School of Music. Her principal composition teachers were Jonathan Kramer and Frank Lewin. Ms. Laitman's initial compositional focus was writing music for film and theatre; in 1980, she composed the score to The Taming of the Shrew for the Folger Theatre in Washington. Since 1991, she has concentrated on composing for the voice. The works on this CD, for voice with a variety of accompaniments, reveal Ms. Laitman's ability to capture and highlight the spirit of each individual poem.


Ms. Laitman has composed song cycles for soprano Lauren Wagner; mezzo-soprano Patricia Green; baritones Kurt Ollmann, Sanford Sylvan, and Stephen Salters; and countertenor David Daniels. Recent performances of her songs have taken place in such venues as The Skylight Opera Theatre (Wisconsin), Weill Recital Hall (New York), Shriver Hall (Baltimore), The Cleveland Institute of Art, The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (D.C.), The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival (Michigan), and The Corcoran Gallery (D.C.). Ms. Laitman was the featured American composer at Strathmore Hall in Maryland in 1991, and was a 1993 fellow at The Charles Ives Center for American Music. Winner of the Boston Art Song Compeittion (2000), she was also a recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Music Composition for 1995 and 1997, a grant from The Arts Council of Montgomery County for 1997-98, and a 1995 grant from Meet the Composer.


Ms. Laitman's songs have received critical acclaim in Europe and the United States. The New York Times singled out her songs as “especially effective,” The Washington Post wrote that her music was “a delicate embroidery of sound,” and Phonogram magazine wrote of Ms. Laitman's The Metropolitan Tower, “the CD is worth owning for this song alone: magnificent!”


Ms. Laitman's music is published by E.C.Schirmer, Theodore Presser, Arsis Press, and American Composers Alliance.




The Metropolitan Tower And Other Songs


Published by Theodore Presser Company. Poems by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933).


Text to The Hour and To A Loose Woman used by permission of The Teasdale Estate, Wellesley College, Massachusetts.


Premieres: The Metropolitan Tower at Merkin Hall, NY, December 16, 1991, with Lauren Wagner, soprano, Frederick Weldy, piano; The Strong House and The Hour at Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, MD, March 6, 1992 with Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano, Lori Laitman, piano; To A Loose Woman at “Revelations '92” Series at la Societe de la Place des Arts de Montreal, Montreal, Canada, August 31, 1992, with Lauren Wagner, soprano, Jane Coop, piano.


The Metropolitan Tower, the first art song that I ever composed, was written at the request of Lauren Wagner for inclusion on her debut CD. I listened to many art songs for guidance, and read much poetry. The simple lyricism of Sara Teasdale had an immediate appeal, and I was also attracted to Secret Words and other songs by Paul Bowles. As in Secret Words, melody is the primary force in The Metropolitan Tower, and the piano accompaniment doubles the vocal line. By the time I composed The Strong House, I was starting to derive more of the rhythms and structure from the words themselves. Shifting harmonies create a feeling of instability as a commentary on the text. Lush harmonies are the hallmark of The Hour, which, like The Metropolitan Tower, is a reflection on a woman's first discovery of love. The syncopated rhythms and chromatic harmonies in the piano part of To A Loose Woman set a sly background for the dramatic vocal line.




1. The Metropolitan Tower


(from Helen of Troy and Other Poems, 1911)


We walked together in the dusk


To watch the tower grow dimly white,


And saw it lift against the sky


Its flower of amber light.


You talked of half a hundred things,


I kept each hurried word you said;


And when at last the hour was full,


I saw the light turn red.


You did not know the time had come,


You did not see the sudden flower,


Nor know that in my heart Love's birth


Was reckoned from that hour.




2. The Strong House


(first published in Pictorial Review, 1919)


Our love is like a strong house


Well roofed against the wind and rain


Who passes darkly in the sun again and again?


The doors are fast, the lamps are lit,


We sit together talking low


Who is it in the ghostly dusk goes to and fro?


Surely ours is a strong house,


I will not trouble any more


But who comes stealing at midnight


To try the locked door?




3. The Hour (1922)


Was it foreknown, was it foredoomed


Before I drew my first small breath?


Will it be with me to the end,


Will it go down with me to death?


Or was it chance,


would it have been


Another if it was not you?


Could any other voice or hands


have done for me what yours can do?


Now without sorrow and without elation


I say the day I found you was foreknown,


Let the years blow like sand around that hour,


Changeless and fixed as Memnon carved in stone.




4. To A Loose Woman (1926)


My dear, your face is lovely,


And you have lovely eyes,


I do not cavil at your life,


But only at your lies.


You are not brave,


You are not wild,


You merely ride the crest of fashion;


Ambition is your special ware


And you have dared to call it passion.






Published by American Composers Alliance.


Premiere: The Church of The Epiphany, Washington, DC., January 22, 1998, with Patricia Green, mezzo-soprano, Lori Laitman, piano.


Mystery, a song cycle for either baritone or mezzo-soprano, sets five poems by American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933). Composed for baritone Kurt Ollmann, these poems reflect on love and its enigmas. The opening song, Nightfall, sets a lyric vocal line against a piano part that portrays the lovers' past walks together as well as their unhappy present. Spray begins violently, with the piano suggesting the crashing of waves. Joining in with rapid declamations, the vocal line then transitions to a calmer reflection on love. The Kiss is set as a parody, humorously juxtaposing the old parlor song style of the vocal line with a more contemporary piano part containing dissonance and rhythmic displacements. The long vocal lines in The Mystery merge with a simple piano accompaniment to create a feeling of yearning. The most complex texture of the cycle is found in The Rose, in which intricate weavings between voice and piano combine with constant meter changes and mood shifts. The song culminates in a quiet variation of the opening as the singer reminisces on love lost.




1. Nightfall


(from Flame and Shadow, 1920)


We will never walk again


As we used to walk at night,


Watching our shadows lengthen


Under the gold street-light


When the snow was new and white.


We will never walk again


Slowly, we two,


In spring when the park is sweet


With midnight and with dew,


And the passers-by are few.


I sit and think of it all,


And the blue June twilight dies,


Down in the clanging square


A street-piano cries


And stars come out in the skies.




2. Spray


(from Flame and Shadow, 1920)


I knew you thought of me all night,


I knew, though you were far away;


I felt your love blow over me


As if a dark wind-riven sea


Drenched me with quivering spray.


There are so many ways to love


And each way has its own delight —


Then be content to come to me


Only as spray the beating sea


Drives inland through the night.




3. The Kiss


(from Helen of Troy and Other Poems, 1911)


I hoped that he would love me,


And he has kissed my mouth,


But I am like a stricken bird


That cannot reach the south.


For though I know he loves me,


To-night my heart is sad;


His kiss was not so wonderful


As all the dreams I had.




4. The Mystery


(from Flame and Shadow, 1920)


Your eyes drink of me,


Love makes them shine,


Your eyes that lean


So close to mine.


We have long been lovers,


We know the range


Of each other's moods


And how they change;


But when we look


At each other so


Then we feel


How little we know;


The spirit eludes us,


Timid and free —


Can I ever know you


Or you know me?




5. The Rose


(from Rivers to the Sea, 1915)


Beneath my chamber window


Pierrot was singing, singing;


I heard his lute the whole night thru


Until the east was red.


Alas, alas, Pierrot


I had no rose for flinging


Save one that drank my tears for dew


Before its leaves were dead.


I found it in the darkness,


I kissed it once and threw it,


The petals scattered over him,


His song was turned to joy;


And he will never know —


Alas, the one who knew it! —


The rose was plucked when dusk was dim


Beside a laughing boy.




The Love Poems of Marichiko


Published by Theodore Presser Company. Text from The Love Poems of Marichiko from THE MORNING STAR, by Kenneth Rexroth copyright 1979 by Kenneth Rexroth. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.


Commissioned by Lauren Wagner. Premiere: The Concert Society of Maryland Series, University of Maryland, February 19, 1994, with Lauren Wagner, soprano, Semyon Fridman, cello.


When The Love Poems of Marichiko was published in 1978, Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) purported to be translating the love poems of a Japanese woman poet named Marichiko. However, it is widely rumored that Rexroth himself wrote the poems. The poems tell the story of a young woman and her secret lover. I set the first six of these poems: they depict the womanís affair, her sadness at being apart from her lover, and her elation when they are together.


The relationship between voice and cello shifts frequently throughout the cycle. Sometimes the voice and cello lines are contrapuntal; sometimes they echo each other's musical phrases; sometimes the cello line serves simply as an accompaniment; and sometimes they are equal partners, as in Just Us.


I employ bowing techniques such as sul tasto (bowing over the fingerboard for a feathery, soft quality), sul ponticello (bowing close to the bridge for a glassy, metallic sound) and tremolo (rapid, shallow bow changes for a nervous, intense quality) and combine them with special articulations such as pizzicato (plucking instead of bowing), glissando (audibly sliding into or away from a pitch) and double/triple stops (2 or 3 note chords) to enrich the timbral palette. The interval of a fifth is especially prominent in the cello part; from the opening notes, the interval threads its way through the songs, and finally ends the cycle a minor third down from the opening.


As in the majority of my music, the meters are driven by the text, creating a fluid musical line. Autumn is the most atmospheric, interweaving a long descending vocal line with the rich colors of the cello. In this song, both voice and cello utilize pitch bending, a technique widely employed in and evocative of traditional Japanese koto music. If I thought.. and You Ask Me contain the most rhythmic contrasts, while the melismatic qualities of the voice are explored in You Ask Me and Just Us. The song cycle draws to a close as both voice and cello soar together in a combination of happiness and sadness.




I. I sit at my desk


I sit at my desk.


What can I write to you?


Sick with love,


I long to see you in the flesh.


I can write only,


“I love you. I love you. I love you.”


Love cuts through my heart


And tears my vitals.


Spasms of longing suffocate me


And will not stop.




II. If I thought...


If I thought I could get away


And come to you,


Ten thousand miles would be like one mile.


But we are both in the same city


And I dare not see you,


And a mile is longer than a million miles.




III. Oh the Anguish


Oh the anguish of these secret meetings


In the depth of night,


I wait with the shoji open.


You come late, and I see your shadow


Move through the foliage


At the bottom of the garden.


We embrace — hidden from my family.


I weep into my hands.


My sleeves are already damp.


We make love, and suddenly


The fire watch loom up


With clappers and lantern.


How cruel they are


To appear at such a moment.


Upset by their apparition,


I babble nonsense


And can't stop talking


Words with no connection.




IV. You Ask Me


You ask me what I thought about


Before we were lovers.


The answer is easy.


Before I met you


I didn't have anything to think about.




V. Autumn


Autumn covers all the world


With Chinese old brocade.


The crickets cry “We mend old clothes'


They are more thrifty than I am.




VI. Just Us


Just us.


In our little house


Far from everybody,


Far from the world,


Only the sound of water over stone.


And then I say to you


“Listen. Hear the wind in the trees.”






The Ballad Singer


Published by American Composers Alliance.


Premiere: Echo at Weill Recital Hall, New York, March 13, 1996, with Karen Bogan, soprano, Brian Zeger, piano.


I composed Echo and The Ballad Singer between February and April 1995, for my friend and Yale classmate, baritone Robert Kennedy. Both texts share a theme of lost love. Echo, composed in a simple ABA structure, utilizes a repetitive pattern of octaves in the right hand of the piano combined with a pedal point in the left hand to draw the listener into the singer's reverie. The Ballad Singer, also in ABA form, has a totally different character. Rowdy sections alternate with dreamy recollections, leading to a frenzied return of the opening theme, and closing with a sigh of resignation.






(Christina Rossetti, 1854)


Come to me in the silence of the night;


Come in the speaking silence of a dream;


Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright


As sunlight on a stream;


Come back in tears,


O memory, hope, love of finished years.


O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,


Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,


Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;


Where thirsting longing eyes


Watch the slow door,


That opening, letting in, lets out no more.


Yet come to me in dreams that I may live


My very life again tho' cold in death:


Come back to me in dreams, that I may give


Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:


Speak low, lean low,


As long ago, my love, how long ago.




The Ballad-Singer


(Thomas Hardy, 1909)


Sing, Ballad-singer, raise a hearty tune;


Make me forget there was ever a one


I walked with in the meek light of the moon


When the day's work was done.


Rhyme, Ballad-rhymer, start a country song;


Make me forget that she whom I loved well


swore she would love me dearly, love me long,


Then — what I cannot tell!


Sing, Ballad-singer, from your little book;


Make me forget those heartbreaks, achings, fears;


Make me forget her name, her sweet, sweet look —


Make me forget her tears.




I Never Saw Another Butterfly...


Published by Arsis Press, Inc. Permission to use these texts was granted by The Jewish Museum of Prague, copyright holder.


Commissioned by Lauren Wagner. Premiere: Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland, Feb. 4, 1996, with Lauren Wagner, soprano, Gary Louie, saxophone.


Lauren Wagner suggested that I compose a cycle using texts from I Never Saw Another Butterfly..., a collection of poems written by children from the Terezin Concentration Camp. One cannot help but be touched by the hope and innocence that these children put into their poetry, despite their terrible surroundings. I had also planned on composing a piece for saxophonist Gary Louie, so, as I read these poems, the idea of the saxophone as the sole partner to the voice intrigued me — the sound of the saxophone itself could be haunting, soulful, and reminiscent of Klezmer music.


The six poems that I chose have widely different imagery, allowing for a variety of musical styles. The Butterfly opens the cycle with a cantorial-style saxophone part, conjuring up images of a fluttering butterfly. The vocal line enters with speech-based rhythms that are melodic and lyric. The saxophone continues to accent and comment on the text, and the long saxophone interlude symbolizes the freedom of the butterfly. The poem was written by Pavel Friedmann, who was born on January 7, 1921, deported to Terezin on April 26, 1942, and died in Auschwitz on September 29, 1944. Despite the tremendous sadness of the text, the message of the poem is one of undying spirit.


Yes, That's the way things are was written by three children — Kosek, Löwry, and Bachner — who wrote under the name “Koleba.” Reflecting the irony of the poem, the music has a quasi-folk song feel — a dancing, shifting rhythm, and a modal melody switching between a minor and major seventh, typical of Jewish folk song. Inserted in the middle and at the end of the piece is a type of vocalise often found in Jewish folk music, here sung on the syllables “ba-de-dum.” Miroslav Kosek was born on March 30, 1932 at Horelice in Bohemia and was sent to Terezin on February 15, 1942. He died October 19, 1944 at Auschwitz. Hanus Löwy was born in Ostrava on June 29, 1931, deported to Terezin on September 30, 1942, and died in Auschwitz on October 4, 1944. There is no information on Bachner.


The author of Birdsong is unknown. The poem is preserved in manuscript. Again in this poem, the author is able to rise above the living conditions to focus on the loveliness of life. Ascending phrases are used to portray hope, and a vocalise is again employed as an interlude and postlude, as the voice and saxophone combine in a passionate duet.


The feelings of hope manifested in the earlier songs die in The Garden. The poem was written by Franta Bass, who was born in Brno on September 4, 1930. He was sent to Terezin on December 2, 1941, and died in Auschwitz on October 28, 1944. The little boy walking along the garden path is portrayed by a weaving saxophone part with subtle rhythmic changes. Both parts build to a climax, then abruptly come to a close as “the little boy will be no more.”


Man Proposes, God Disposes was also written by the three children who signed their name “Koleba.” This text is a commentary on what used to be, and what is. With the ambience of a cabaret song, the vocal line uses a simple melody, and ends each section with a glissando.


The Old House, also written by Franta Bass, ends the cycle. The barren image of the deserted house is captured by the saxophone repeatedly playing one note, like a bell tolling. The voice and saxophone become more expressive as the poet recalls happier days, but then return to the opening texture. The phrase “rotting in silence,” is repeated three times, to bring the cycle to a close with the voice alone.




1. The Butterfly


(Pavel Friedmann, 1942)


The last, the very last


So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.


Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing


against a white stone....


Such, such a yellow


Is carried lightly 'way up high.


It went away I'm sure because it wished to


kiss the world good-bye.


For seven weeks I've lived in here,


Penned up inside this ghetto.


But I have found what I love here.


The dandelions call to me


And the white chestnut branches in the court.


Only I never saw another butterfly.


That butterfly was the last one.


Butterflies don't live in here,


in the ghetto.




2. Yes, That's the Way Things Are


(Koleba) (M. Kosek, H. Löwy, Bachner)




In Terezin in the so-called park


A queer old granddad sits


Somewhere there in the so-called park.


He wears a beard down to his lap


And on his head, a little cap.




Hard crusts he crumbles in his gums,


He's only got one single tooth.


My poor old man with working gums,


Instead of soft rolls, lentil soup.


My poor old greybeard!




3. Birdsong


(Anonymous 1941)


He doesn't know the world at all


Who stays in his nest and doesn't go out.


He doesn't know what birds know best


Nor what I want to sing about,


That the world is full of loveliness.


When dewdrops sparkle in the grass


And earth's aflood with morning light,


A blackbird sings upon a bush


To greet the dawning after night.


Then I know how fine it is to live.


Hey, try to open up your heart


To beauty; go to the woods someday


And weave a wreath of memory there.


Then if the tears obscure your way


You'll know how wonderful it is


To be alive.




4. The Garden


(Franta Bass)


A little garden


Fragrant and full of roses.


The path is narrow


And a little boy walks along it.


A little boy, a sweet boy,


Like that growing blossom.


When the blossom comes to bloom,


The little boy will be no more.




5. Man Proposes, God Disposes


(Koleba, 1944)


(M. Kosek, H. Lowy, Bachner)




Who was helpless back in Prague,


And who was rich before,


He's a poor soul here in Terezin,


His body's bruised and sore.




Who was toughened up before,


He'll survive these days.


But who was used to servants


Will sink into his grave.




6. The Old House


(Franta Bass)


Deserted here, the old house


stands in silence, asleep.


The old house used to be so nice,


before, standing there,


it was so nice.


Now it is deserted,


rotting in silence —


What a waste of houses,


a waste of hours.


Days and Nights


Published by Theodore Presser Company.


Premiere: Sumner School Museum, D.C., March 3, 1995, with Melissa Coombs, soprano, Lori Laitman, piano.


In 1994, composer Richard Hundley introduced me to soprano Melissa Coombs. Melissa requested a setting of Robert Browning's poem Grow Old Along with Me for her upcoming 10th wedding anniversary. This setting subsequently became the first of the six songs in Days and Nights, which uses texts by four prominent nineteenth century poets, two of them women (Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti).


Along with Me employs repetition of musical verses, and rhythmic emphasis on the words “trust God,” to create a hymn-like quality. They Might Not Need Me is completely different in spirit and mood. The pervasive tango rhythms in the piano offer humorous counterpoint to the voice, which vacillates between the dramatic setting of the title phrase to the flippant, yet hopeful, setting of the words “but they might.” The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, a calm contrast, is divided into two parts, one a variation of the other. Reflecting the youthful playfulness of its text, Over the Fence has an off-balance humor achieved through the piano's skipping, repetitive triplets and lighthearted, melodramatic vocal line. The piano grows more intricate in the middle section — employing hand crossing techniques reminiscent of Rameau's keyboard style — while the voice warbles above, attempting to capture the marvelous imagery of God, as a boy, jumping over the fence to eat berries. The lyric Song uses dreamlike harmonies above a deliberately sustained piano pedal against the vocal line, nearly folk-like in its simplicity. Wild Nights begins explosively, with dramatic vocal glissandi and melismas. Extensive use of wide leaps and tango-inspired rhythms magnify the sexually charged impact of the text. A calmer mid-section portrays the “heart in port” but soon gains momentum, returning to the initial mood of unbridled passion. The four repetitions of the words “in Thee” are set progressively louder and higher, building to the final climactic moment, a descending octave glissando ending in a hissing, sibilant “s.”




1. Along with Me


(Robert Browning)


Grow old along with me!


The best is yet to be,


The last of life for which the first was made;


Our times are in His hand


Who saith: “A whole I planned —


Youth shows but half; trust God, see all nor be afraid.”




2. They Might Not Need Me


(Emily Dickinson)


They might not need me; but they might.


I'll let my head be just in sight;


A smile as small as mine might be


Precisely their necessity.




3. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes


(Francis W. Bourdillon)


The night has a thousand eyes,


And the day but one;


Yet the light of the bright world dies


With the dying sun.


The mind has a thousand eyes,


And the heart but one;


Yet the light of a whole life dies


When its love is done.




4. Over the Fence


(Emily Dickinson)


Over the fence


Strawberries — grow —


Over the fence —


I could climb — if I tried, I know —


Berries are nice!


But —if I stained my Apron —


God would certainly scold!


Oh, dear, — I guess if He were a Boy—


He'd — climb — if He could!




5. Song


(Christina Rossetti)


When I am dead, my dearest,


Sing no sad songs for me;


Plant no roses at my head,


Nor shady cypress tree:


Be the green grass above me


With showers and dewdrops wet;


And if thou wilt, remember,


And if thou wilt, forget.


I shall not see the shadows,


I shall not feel the rain;


I shall not hear the nightingale


Sing on, as if in pain;


And dreaming through the twilight


That doth not rise nor set,


Haply I may remember,


And haply may forget.




6. Wild Nights


(Emily Dickinson)


Wild Nights — Wild Nights!


Were I with thee


Wild Nights should be


Our luxury!


Futile — the Wind —


To a Heart in port —


Done with the Compass—


Done with the Chart!


Rowing in Eden—


Ah, the Sea!


Might I but moor — Tonight —


In thee!






Soprano Lauren Wagner has won wide acclaim as the winner of numerous prizes and awards, as well as for her performances on concert and opera stages. The recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts' Sullivan Grant and a grant from the Metropolitan Opera Education Fund, Ms. Wagner has been the subject of feature articles in The New York Times, The Santa Fe Journal, and Lear's magazine. Ms. Wagner has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her first recording was released in 1993 by the Dutch label Channel Classics. Ms. Wagner has degrees from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Elizabeth Mosher, and the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Ellen Faull. She is an Adjunct Professor at Adrian College and Siena Heights College, and serves as a Concert Artists Guild Judge.




A recipient of the Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, pianist Frederick Weldy has performed to wide acclaim throughout the United States, Europe, and Central America. His performances have been featured on National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and he was seen and heard on PBS Television as a prizewinner in the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. Active as an accompanist as well as soloist, he frequently collaborates with soprano Lauren Wagner; together they have recorded a CD of American art songs and piano works for Channel Classics. Born on a dairy farm in Indiana, Mr. Weldy received the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Charles Fisher, Eugene Bossart, and Martin Katz. He is currently on the faculty of Stanford University.




William Sharp has appeared with major orchestras throughout the United States including the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony, among others. Festival appearances include the Mostly Mozart, Aspen and Marlboro Music Festivals. He has presented hundreds of solo song recitals throughout the United States and abroad. His two dozen recordings include his recital of American Songs, for which Mr. Sharp was nominated for the 1989 Grammy Award for best classical solo vocal performance, and the 1990 Grammy-winning world-premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein's Arias and Barcarolles, among others. He has won the Carnegie Hall American Music Competition, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions (including the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Prize) and the Geneva International Competition. Mr. Sharp has served on the voice faculty of Boston University since 1993.




Known for her lustrous voice and pitch-perfect three octave range, Phyllis Bryn-Julson commands a remarkable repertoire of vocal literature that spans many centuries. Ms. Bryn-Julson has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, the Dickenson College Arts Award, the United States - United Kingdom Bicentennial Exchange Arts Fellowship, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Syracuse University, the Paul Hume Award, the Amphion Award, the Catherine Filene Shouse Award, the Peabody Conservatory Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, and the Peabody Student Council Award for outstanding contribution to the Peabody community. She has recorded for CBS Masterworks, CRI, Decca, Edici, Erato, London, Louisville, New World, Nonesuch, Orion, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA, Gothic, Collins, EMI, and Music and Arts. She serves as Chair of the Voice Department at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.




Cellist Thomas Kraines, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, enjoys an active and eclectic chamber music career. Currently a member of the internationally renowned Peabody Trio, he has also performed in small ensembles with members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, and Penderecki Quartets, as well as jazz musicians Lionel Hampton and Paul Jeffrey. Mr. Kraines studied in North Carolina with Frederic Raimi of the Ciompi Quartet, in Philadelphia with Orlando Cole, and in New York with Joel Krosnick. Other important teachers have included Aldo Parisot, Harvey Shapiro, and Neal Cary. Mr. Kraines is a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory.




A native of greater Washington, DC, saxophonist Gary Louie has earned an admired niche in American concert life for his dedication to championing the artistic possibilities and expanding the repertoire of his instrument. In 1994, Gary Louie released his first solo CD on the Newport Classic label. With Richard Auldon Clark and the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra he has recorded Alec Wilder's Suite for Tenor Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra and Ibert's Concertino da Camera and Henry Cowell's Air and Scherzo. Gary Louie's past teachers include George Etheridge and Don Sinta. He currently serves on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music of The Johns Hopkins University.




Since studying with Leonard Shure and Leon Fleisher, Mr. Knopp's activities as a chamber musician, proponent of New Music and pedagogue have taken him to all major North American music centers, to Europe, the Middle East and Japan. As a member of the Knopp-Melançon Duo, he performs actively in recitals with his wife, violinist Violaine Melançon, an artistic collaboration that began in 1983 when both were still students and is a founding member of the Naumburg Award winning Peabody Trio with whom he tours internationally. The trio is the resident faculty ensemble of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Knopp is Artistic Director of the Yellow Barn Chamber Music School and Festival in Putney, Vermont and Chairman of the chamber music department at the Peabody Conservatory.




The Love Poems of Marichiko, Days and Nights, Mystery, Echo, and The Ballad Singer were recorded at The Spencerville Seventh Day Adventist Church, Silver Spring, Maryland, September 14 - 19, 1999. The Hour and To A Loose Woman were recorded at Harmony Hall, Fort Washington, Maryland, June, 1996. I Never Saw Another Butterfly was recorded at Harmony Hall, Fort Washington, Maryland, March, 1996. The Metropolitan Tower and The Strong House were recorded at Bad Homburg, Germany, May, 1992. Used with permission of Channel Classics Records.


Thanks to: Baldwin Piano Concert & Artist Division, and Gordon Keller Music, for providing the Baldwin concert grand used in the recordings at The Spencerville Seventh Day Adventist Church. • Mark Willey and The Spencerville Seventh Day Adventist Church of Silver Spring, MD, for providing the recording space. • The Montgomery County Council of the Arts for their FY98-99 grant, which allowed me to pursue this project.


Recording Engineer: Edward John Kelly


Producers: Lori Laitman and Lauren Wagner


Cover Photo: Eileen Colton


Cover Design:Bates Miyamoto




For my husband, Bruce Rosenblum — for everything; for my children James, Diana and Andrew — for their love and understanding; for Lauren Wagner, who initially set me on the path of art song composition and who served as co-producer of this CD; for my former composition professor, Frank Lewin, whose unstinting guidance and valuable insights helped me to grow as a composer; for Robert S. Goldfarb, for his valuable assistance; for my parents, Josephine and Milton Laitman, who gave me the gift of music; for my wonderful artists; and for all my other family members and friends, without whose love and support this project would not have come to fruition.






Selections from


The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs (1991-92)


(text from poems by Sara Teasdale)


Lauren Wagner, soprano • Frederick Weldy, piano


1 The Metropolitan Tower (1:52)


2 The Strong House (1:40)


3 The Hour (1:54)


4 To A Loose Woman (1:14)


Mystery (1997-98)


(text from poems by Sara Teasdale)


William Sharp, baritone • Lori Laitman, piano


5 Nightfall (2:14)


6 Spray (1:35)


7 The Kiss (1:16)


8 The Mystery (1:50)


9 The Rose (3:08)


The Love Poems of Marichiko (1993, rev. 1994)


(text from poems by Kenneth Rexroth)


Phyllis Bryn-Julson, soprano • Thomas Kraines, cello


10 I Sit at my desk (1:23)


11 If I thought... (1:49)


12 Oh the Anguish (2:37)


13 You Ask Me (1:35)


14 Autumn (2:03)


15 Just Us (2:08)


16 Echo (1995) (3:27)


(text from a poem by Christina Rossetti)


17 The Ballad Singer (1995) (2:06)


(text from a poem by Thomas Hardy)


William Sharp, baritone • Lori Laitman, piano


I Never Saw Another Butterfly (1995-96)


(texts from poems by children killed in the Holocaust)


Lauren Wagner, soprano • Gary Louie, saxophone


18 The Butterfly (Pavel Friedmann) (4:10)


19 Yes, That's the Way Things Are (Koleba) (1:47)


20 Birdsong (Anonymous) (2:34)


21 The Garden (Franta Bass) (2:06)


22 Man Proposes, God Disposes (Koleba) (:48)


23 The Old House (Franta Bass) (2:55)


Days and Nights (1994-95)


Phyllis Bryn-Julson, soprano • Seth Knopp, piano


24 Along With Me (Robert Browning) (2:30)


25 They Might Not Need Me (Emily Dickinson) (2:10)


26 The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (Francis Bourdillon) (1:35)


27 Over The Fence (Emily Dickinson) (1:47)


28 Song (Christina Rossetti) (2:11)


29 Wild Nights (Emily Dickinson) (2:20)




Total Time = 63:16