I composed the Songs of Introspection for soprano Courtney Gilson-Piercey during the Spring and Summer of 2009. The choice of text was not an easy one, and after much discussion we decided on these four poems by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). They had been favorites of Courtney’s since she was young and I was immediately drawn to their dark, mystical, metaphysical qualities.
These songs are not meant to be performed as a “cycle.” However, when performing the set in its
entirety, I prefer the order found here. The moods of the individual songs vary greatly, however, the emotions evoked by the overall set is, not surprisingly, one of melancholy. Formal organization became a key part of my conception of the pieces: the songs are not strophic; each stanza evokes its own mood and demands a unique musical setting.
The set was premiered by Courtney and pianist Karen McCann at Arizona State University in January, 2010. Their bang-up performance is heard here, and I’m looking forward to watching Courtney grow with these works.