Gwyneth Walker

The Marriage of True Minds

for Cello and Narrator (2018)

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View/download a PDF file of the score of this work.

These duets, or conversations, were composed specifically for cellist Deborah Black, and her husband, Michel Kabay, a poet, literary scholar and musician. [These friends of the composer live in Barre, VT.] The intent is to provide dramatic material which could display the talents and close collaboration of these performers.

The intermingling of the music and poetry is designed in a flexible, free-form manner which requires sensitive listening, back and forth. The guidelines of musical measures/barlines are often discarded in favor of responses and commentary between narrator and cellist. Images in the poetry are translated into musical motifs. Lines of narrative are punctuated with cello chords or tremoli.

The tone of the conversations ranges from the romantic Shakespeare Sonnet 116 ["Love is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken"] to the ridiculous Lewis Carroll poem, A Strange Wild Song [in which the narrator essentially loses his mind!] to Mother of Exiles, based on an Emma Lazarus text [welcoming the "homeless, tempest-tost" to these shores].

Romance, humor and hope are major ingredients of any Marriage of True Minds!

Notes by the composer