Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, and Violoncello
Text: Samuel Daniel (1562?-1619)
Duration: ca. 8 minutes
Publisher: APNM (Association for the Promotion of New Music), distributed by Subito Music, Inc.
Care-Charmer Sleep was composed from January through April of 2007, and is dedicated to the wonderful musicians of Seraphim, with special thanks to The Phoenix Commission that helped make its creation possible. I have long been attracted to Samuel Daniel’s darkly beautiful sonnet, and it seemed to be a vehicle eminently well-suited to showcasing the talents and passions of these three artists.
My setting begins with an expansive cello solo, which for me conjures up something of the fitful, anxious and lonely character of a sleepless night—or of an intensely turbulent life. The six-note musical phrase to which the words “in silent darkness born” are set becomes an important motivic element throughout the piece. After the delivery of the first two lines of the poem by the mezzo-soprano, the soprano joins and the music becomes increasingly agitated and tempestuous, its only respite provided by a silence immediately before the words “Cease, dreams, th’imagery of our day-desires.” A modified return of the cello solo, this time in a lower register, signals the final couplet’s sense of ultimate surrender.