Pictures of the Floating World (2011)


Instrumentation: Soprano and Tuba
* Also available for mezzo-soprano and tuba – contact me if you are interested!
Duration: 9:00
Text by: Amy Lowell
Availability: Downloadable PDF

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Amy Lowell’s collection of poems entitled Pictures of the Floating World (1919) is a set of poignant haiku-like works. The title of the book is a literal translation of the Japanese word “Ukiyo-e”, which is a genre of paintings and woodcut prints dating back to the seventeenth century. The subject matter of such art works often include landscapes, historical tales, and images taken from theater. In a sense, they are vignettes frozen in time, and Lowell’s poems capture that property magically.

In this eponymous set of songs for soprano and tuba, I have set seven of Lowell’s poems (with an interlude for solo tuba). Like the texts, the songs are brief, and the sparse textures reflect the simple power of the words.

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