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2-8 players
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The Ghosts of Versailles: arias and excerpts (voice(s) and piano)
Three Cabaret Songs (voice(s) and piano)
End of the Line
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Fern Hill (1961; revised 1965, 1999)
1961 original version for mezzo soprano, chorus, and chamber ensemble
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see also: 1965 version with full orchestra, 1999 version with chamber orchestra, and A Dylan Thomas Trilogy

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First performed on March 11, 1999 Todd Braden, boy soprano, National Symphony and Choral Arts Society of Washington under Leonard Slatkin, Kennedy Center, Washington DC

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Listen to a sound clip

rent score and parts from G. Schirmer Inc 

order vocal score from www.musicdispatch.com 

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Scored for Mezzo voice, SATB Chorus, flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, harp, strings.

Duration  16 minutes

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Recording
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Susanne Mentzer, mezzo soprano The University of Texas Chamber Singers and Chamber Orchestra; James Morrow, conductor Naxos 8.559299 (2006)

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I first encountered Dylan Thomas’ work in 1959, my last undergraduate year at Columbia College. It was a revelation. Both the sound and structures of Thomas’s words were astonishingly musical. Not by accident, either: “What the words meant was of secondary importance; what matters was the sound of them...these words were as the notes of bells, the sounds of musical instruments," he wrote in his Poetic Manifesto of 1951. I was irresistibly drawn to translate his music into mine.

One poem captivated me: Fern Hill, about the poet’s “young and easy" summers at his family’s farm of the same name. I wanted to write this work as a gift for my high-school music teacher, Mrs. Bella Tillis, who first encouraged my musical ambitions. She introduced Fern Hill with piano accompanying her (and, once, my) school choir.

Fern Hill is a blithe poem, yet touched by darkness; time finally holds the poet “green and dying," but the poem itself, formally just an ABA song extended into a wide arch, sings joyously of youth and its keen perceptions. I set it for mezzo-soprano solo, chorus, and orchestra, aiming to match the forthright lyricism of the text. (The direction “with simplicity" is everywhere in the printed score.)

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                     — John Corigliano

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