New Art Song Cycle: 139 Piccadilly
Conductor and Composer Tobias Patrick Wolf has finished a new work for voice and piano, a cycle of three art songs. This composition sets Samuel Downes' 139 Piccadilly into music.
139 Piccadilly. A Poetic Triangle.
1. Calantha – 2. A London Hound – 3. Chartered Love
Music by Tobias Patrick Wolf (2018)
Text by Samuel David Downes (2018)
From the Composer's note:
In this set of three works that the author describes as a poetic triangle, the same situation is told from three perspectives. Calantha (No. 1) makes space for her frustration about her husband, Lord Byron, who in Chartered Love (No. 3) presents his depressed emotional view on the matter, while their dog (A London Hound, No. 2) seems to register some issues with the couple but - given his nature being an animal - playfully and easy-minded explores the city of London, reflecting the circumstances, loyal to both. The poet leaves a considerable room for interpretation and presents us with ambiguous verses. Rather than only paraphrasing the text, this setting into music aims at polarising the meaning towards a certain feel, the composer's interpretation is truly a subjective reflection on the poetic triangle itself. Sung by the same voice, all three movements are to be performed in the given order, filling the different scenes with a dramatic overexaggeration of moods: nostalgic, hysterical, angry in No. 1, ironic, dancing, comical in No. 2; sad, passionate, resigning in No. 3 - to name a few suggestions to the performing artists. In this setting of the text, voice and instrumental accompaniment are to complement each other, with the voice leading in its expressive moments, while the piano skillfully drives the harmonic progressions forward, restless particularly in Calantha, never to seem settled in one key, and moving constantly sequenzing. Should the piano lack a sostenuto pedal as required in No. 1, the careful use of the sustain pedal may be helpful. The singer shall be encouraged to make frequent use of expressive rubati, accelerandi when they suit the text, with the piano supporting this in a colla voce accompaniment.