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Poet Sarah Getty inspired me with her blunt observations of people and their behaviors. She wrote about people she loved, as well as herself, with unsentimental but profound insight.
The suite Partners sets three of Sarah’s poems:
- Troupers – The overwhelming spectacle of a three-ring circus is a prelude to a circus dog’s reflections on being a performer with a long-term connection to its performing partner.
- Cleaning the Storm Windows – A clumsy comedy occurs when husband and wife try to wash storm windows.
- That Woman – A subtle exploration of the subconscious connection of a daughter to her mother.
Troupers is a celebration and a critique of the circus. The circus environment is an exciting waltz, with thrills and risks wowing the crowd. When the huge spectacle gets confusing, the crowd doesn’t know where to look and the waltz disappears for a while. The waltz rhythm returns when we learn more about the narrator, one of a pair of dogs who rolls a barrel around the ring. The words tumble forward, overlapping, rolling around too. The dogs’ repetitive task may seem unsatisfying, but they are content with doing their job well.
Your chorus will be challenged by occasional spicy harmony and a few sudden tempo changes in the tonally shifting texture of Troupers. The piano part shines with circus sparkle.
The three pieces of Partners were commissioned by David Getty and The Master Singers of Lexington, MA in memory of poet Sarah Getty, who was a longtime member of the chorus.
You can read the poem in the downloadable Preview score.
Troupers was premiered in November 2022 by the Master Singers of Lexington, MA.
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