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maggie and milly and molly and may (With Recording!)

March 13, 2010 at 10:51 pm UTC

This will be the third of five movements in The City and the Sea, the E.E. Cummings cycle I’m writing for SATB choir and piano. It uses the same ‘oven-mitt’ technique that I’m using in the others, but this time the piano plays it arpeggiated, with lost of sustain pedal.

Here is the poem:

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

And here are the first three pages of the sheet music (sorry for the typos – this is a first draft from the publisher):

maggie and milly pgs 1-3

And here is a rough recording from the concert last month at Denver University, the Lamont Chorale singing; JoAnn Gudvangen-Brown, pianist. It was the first time I conducted the piece:


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