Instrumentation: soprano, solo percussion
Vocal Range: Bb3 - Bb5
Duration: ca. 11:00
Year of Completion: 2009
The sonnets of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) are rich with descriptions of musical sounds and powerful expressions of emotion. Four of these sonnets have been fused into a cycle that depicts Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, singing at sunrise. She first sings to the departing evening star Hesperus as the sun appears over the horizon. A lament about Longfellow's dread of middle age provides the text that reflects Aurora's own brief time in the sky and her unfulfilled ambitions in movement two. Three singers are profiled in the third movement, each of a different voice that causes unrest to their audience. The final movement is Aurora's bitter lament at the death of her mortal lover Tithonus, prince of Troy. This movement recalls several musical motives and gestures used throughout the work, and a final tolling note in the percussion ends Aurora's time in the sky.