Three Poems by Jane Hirshfield

The complete cycle consists of:

You Put Apples to Your Lips SSATBB (2009).

Speed and Perfection SATBB (2010).

Music Like Water SATB double chorus (2010, revised 2012).

Each peice can be performed individually or as part of the complete cycle.

This cycle began as a challenge to find and set a love poem. After months of searching for a text I came upon Jane Hirshfield's "for a wedding on mount Tamalpais" from The October Palace and was completely smitten. The poem captures the rightness, ease and necessity of unconditional love, without denying its innate sensuality. I was also drawn to th poem's Californian imagery: the golden hills, the live oaks, and the hawks. The composition relies on triadic and added tone harmonies with Lydian inflections to capture the brightness and ripeness of the poem's sensual language.

The second movement is a setting of Hirshfield's poem "Speed and Perfection" from her collection Given Sugar, Given Salt captures the delicacy and ephemeral tastiness of apricots.

The final peice, Music Like Water is a setting of Jane Hirshfield's poem, "The Music Like Water" from her collection Of Gravity and Angels. This setting was inspired by persistence and power of water. A small stream of water can find a way to flow through stone and can shatter rock, and these streams, small and with their own flow, can combine into powerful torrents. The music features constantly shifting textures and lush harmonies.

To download a sample page from the score or listen to a recording, please see the links on the left.

To order scores or parts from the catalog, or contact Katherine Saxon with regard to a commission, please take a look at the contact page.