Thursday, May 05, 2016
Song of the Lark for Viola and Piano
Michael and I have been spending a lot of quality time with Willa Cather's novels. The Song of the Lark is one that I just had to comment on musically, and in the form of a piece for viola and piano (like I did with A Lost Lady). The 1884 Jules Breton painting above, called "Song of the Lark," makes an appearance in the novel. Cather had a close relationship with the painting while it was a relatively new piece of art, and she used a silhouette based on it for the cover of the first edition of the novel. My piece draws inspiration from both the novel and the painting.
Here's a computer-generated recording you can listen to, and here's the page in the IMSLP where you can get the music.
You might notice that there's a phrase from Edvard Grieg's "Tak for Dit Råd" in the piece. It was one of the pieces that Thea Kronborg, the singer (and main character) in Cather's novel sang. You can hear Kirsten Flagstad sing it below. I like to imagine that Flagstad's type of voice might have been a model for Cather's character's voice.