been cold a long time

a setting of “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens
for mezzo soprano, alto flute, and piano, 2013

I find “The Snow Man” striking for the balance that Stevens achieves between the large and the small, between broad philosophical statements and concrete imagery, between sweeping panoramas and close-up details. In been cold a long time I have tried to capture both sides of these oppositions, moving between moments of heightened activity or expansive lyricism and moments of sparseness, fragility, and suspension. Although different in character, these various types of music are inevitably linked, just as Stevens recognizes, embedded within the sound of the wind, an idea of nothingness. The music is always threatening to trail off, to collapse into silence (or near-silence), like a figure dissolving into a wintery landscape.

Tammy Coil, mezzo-soprano
Henrik Heide, violin
ChoEun Lee, piano