Poetry-Inspired Music

About the project

My poetry-inspired music project is a growing set of musical compositions connected with poems. Most are solos and express some aspect of the poem in the music. They are great programming material for a recital or chamber music concert.

Sometimes the music depicts the evolution of the whole poem, sometimes it picks up an idea or two and rhapsodizes on it, and sometimes the musical idea comes from a sound image that emerges from single line. The two pieces based on "The Mirror of Diana" come are based on two separate lines from that poem. The resulting music of each is very different.


Poetry in concert  In my experience, the audience really enjoys the correspondences they hear between the poem and the music. In concert, I recommend having a good, dramatic speaker read the poem, followed by the music. Most of the poems take only a minute or two to read. Audiences has been very complimentary and receptive when I've presented the music this way. And at least one non-poetry-reading musician commented to me that it was a nice, digestible dose of poetry too.

List of music

Look at and hear the music in the Poetry-Inspired Music project. Click the links below to the Spindrift Catalog page for each piece. For most of the solos, you'll find MP3 demos created with virtual instruments.


High Flight for flute

Beyond the Storm for oboe

Summer Into Winter for clarinet

Returning for clarinet

Unabashed Promotion for bassoon

I Am the Wind for bassoon

Sunrise on the Hills for horn

Time to Stand and Stare for trumpet

Rising for viola or for cello

Duos and larger ensembles

Mirror of Diana: float into the quiet skies for flute & percussion

Mirror of Diana: melt into the flux for flute & percussion

Quinteto sobre los Poemas de Carlos Pintado
for piano quintet

Other solos that aren't directly based on poems

Communing with Birds for flute

Turbulient for clarinet

Colored Leaves for horn

Soliloquy for cello

Back story

"Poetry-Inspired Music" started as an exercise for using my virtual-orchestra software, EastWest Quantum Leap Symphony Orchestra. Peter Alexander of Alexander University was beta-testing course material on orchestration, which suggested poems as a starting point for composing solos for various instruments. I wrote these solos and used my software to mock up demos of the pieces. I liked the process and the result so I kept looking for more poems.

Eventually I'd like the collection to include a piece for every orchestral instrument, and any other instrument that you ask for.