In memoriam: Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

Michael Alec Rose has set three of Mary Oliver’s poems, now accessible via Soundcloud:

1) “In Blackwater Woods,” Mezzo-soprano Sharon Mabry and pianist Lynn Rice-See.
(The second song of Rose’s song cycle titled “The Way In” (1986).)

2) “First Snow,” Mezzo-soprano Sharon Mabry and pianist Lynn Rice-See.
(The fourth and final song of Rose’s song cycle titled “The Way In” (1986).)

3) “Sleeping in the Forest,”  Tenor Tony Boutté and pianist Margaret Kampmeir.
This song comes from my 1985 song cycle News of the Universe. This performance was part of the 2015 retrospective of music by Michael Alec Rose at Opera America/National Opera Center in New York City. Reflections by the composer:

Especially moving for me is Tony and Peggy’s interpretation of this song, performed here 30 years after the two of them premiered the song cycle at the Eastman School. Back then, I was the first composer to ask and receive Ms. Oliver’s permission to set her work to music. I’m thinking of putting what she said to me (when I finally met her a few years ago) on my tombstone: “You still doing that? Composing? You know, you’re the only one I ever liked.” I was so flabbergasted I didn’t know what to say. I won’t tell you what foolish and inarticulate thing I said. To be painfully evenhanded, it too should go on my tombstone.

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