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“Life, In Conjunction” is part of Songs from a Quaker Heart, commissioned and premiered by the Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus in 2016.
I like short poems so that I can elaborate my musical ideas around the text, but Marian’s poem “Life” is very short. Her words evolved inside a formula, so I created a parallel formula for the music: eight different words, eight different pitches — to make music that lasts a whole minute.
The text is a poem titled “Life” from Players in the Dream, Dreamers in the Play (Plain View Press, 2006). This layout in HTML doesn’t capture all the captivating detail and spacing of her graphic design.
by Marian Kaplun Shapiro
and but why if when or how not
not how if why but and or
if and or why but how
why if but how and
but and why if
and but why
(Copyright Marian Kaplun Shapiro. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.)
The Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus, directed by Barry Singer, sings this May 2017 performance.