Three settings of Italian poets for mezzo-soprano and piano



The final song of this cycle was written first, in March 1985, in London, and first performed by mezzo- soprano Ann-Marie Donovan during my first year as a member of the Modern Music Theatre Troupe at the Banff Centre, Canada. I was taken with this performer’s theatrical aplomb on hearing her in this one song, and later that year wrote her a forty-minute monodrama, Dreamer, based on an aspect of Bluebeard, which was staged the following year. I was also inspired to add two more Italian songs to make up a group, but these less histrionic utterances did not find equal favour. Thus Tre poemi was not performed complete until 1994, at a charity concert at the London Lighthouse, by Mary Newman-Pound and Nicholas Bosworth. 

1. La neve e’l ghiaccio (The snow and the ice) Franco Sacchetti (?1335-1400) 

2. Io dal mio poggio (I, on my hill) Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827) 

3. Rotta è l’alta Colonna (The high column is broken) Francesco Petrarca (1304-74)

First performed 5 May 1994 by Mary Newman-Pound and Nicholas Bosworth, London Lighthouse, London W8