Elixirs (2005)

Performance:  Kairos: A Consort of Singers, under the direction of Dr. Edward Lundergan, Artistic Director

EarthwormJar.mp3  3:40
LoveSong.mp3  3:17
PurposeOfaCat.mp3  2:15

The three songs in Elixirs are based on poems from two books, The Book of Nine Elixirs and The Earthworm Jar, by David Appelbaum, a poet and philosopher living in New Paltz.  A reviewer has described his work as “natural surrealism…claiming the territory between the observer’s consciousness and another reality.” David’s poems are meditative and evocative, sometimes humorous, subtle yet often quite shocking. I cannot claim to truly ‘understand’ these poems, yet they speak to me intuitively.  I hope that my musical settings do them justice.

The Earthworm Jar evokes a child’s frightful memories of carrying slops down the dark stairs into the cellar. Conjuring up bizarre images of an old man lovingly covering the earthworms with “leftovers fit for a king” and a dreadful dream of suffocation, the piece ends with the faint heartbeats of the worms themselves.

Love Song celebrates the joy and warmth of remembered love; the climax of the poem is passionate nearly to the point of eroticism.  My musical rendition attempts to evoke laughter, warmth and the sensuality of entwined lovers.

Purpose of a Cat is a light-hearted treatment of the poet’s description of the cat’s need to “crawl under my skin.” The original poem juxtaposes dark images with flashes of humor; I hope to achieve the same mix in my jazzy “ditty.”


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