John Harbison (1938 - )

Louise Glück’s "Nativity Poem" was published in her second volume The House on Marshland (1975) (Permission pending from the Ecco Press). It contains mystery, especially at the close, rich colorful description, and fun, a gift to any composer bold enough to set it.I began working with grand exchanges between two choruses (eight parts!) gradually whittled that down to an intimate three voices, then to my surprise, in the extended final section just two, the upper one is in octaves.  As always in working with Louise Glück’s poems I am ever grateful for their musicality, directness, and subtlety.

© John Harbison

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