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The Cloisters (1965)
Four songs to texts by William M. Hoffman

          Fort Tryon Park: September
          Song to the Witch of the Cloisters
          Christmas at the Cloisters
          The Unicorn

For voice and chamber orchestra

see also: version for voice and piano, and version for chorus a cappella

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The Cloisters first performed May 17, 1975, by Mignon Dunn, mezzo-soprano, with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Kurt Klippstatter, conductor; Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

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rent score and parts for the chamber orchestra version from score and parts from G. Schirmer Inc 

order vocal scores for the individual songs from www.musicdispatch.com Fort Tryon Park: September, Song to the Witch of the Cloisters, Christmas at the Cloisters for chorus and piano or voice and piano, and The Unicorn

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Scored for voice or chorus and piano or chamber orchestra: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, percussion, and strings

Duration  13 minutes

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Recordings
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Complete song cycle: Henry Herford, baritone, and
Robin Bowman, piano
New World Records 80327-2 (1997)
Fort Tryon Park: Lauren Wagner, soprano, and
Fred Weldy, piano
Channel Classics CCS 5293 (1993)
Song to the Witch of the Cloisters: Robert White, tenor,
and Samuel Sanders, piano
Hyperion CDA66920 (1997)
Christmas at the Cloisters: The Emily Lowe Singers Northeastern NR 241-CD (1991)

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Program note

The Cloisters is one of John Corigliano’s earlier works, dating from 1965. After his friend the poet and playwright William M. Hoffman wrote The Unicorn, Corigliano suggested that several more poems, unified by the motif of the Cloisters, a museum of medieval art at the northern end of Manhattan, might provide wonderful material for a song cycle. The resulting group of four poems touches on romantic moods and picturesque images associated in Hoffman’s mind with the Cloisters. The third song, “Christmas at the Cloisters”, is dedicated to gospel singer Marion Williams. The cycle also exists in a version with orchestral accompaniment.

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                     — Walter Simmons

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