Woman of the Water (piano)
nine songs for soprano and piano
Lyrics: poetry by Theodore Roethke
Written: 2001 for Nancy Knowles with lute accompaniment; this arrangement for piano done in 2011
Duration: 23 minutes; 24 pages
Instrumentation: flute, cello and two guitar
Difficulty level: moderate for voice and piano
World premiere: unknown
Recording: Duo LiveOak’s CD Woman of the Water
Preview: a sample PDF of Woman of the Water with piano
“The breadth of his musical activity recalls an earlier age, when a complete musician engaged in a broad range of creative activities as a matter of course…Wallace’s music is exciting, unpredictable, and fresh…”
–Steven Rings, American Record Guide, 2001
Duo LiveOak performs Woman of the Water with ten-string guitar in the Faroe Islands for the Sumartónar Festival.
Log into the Naxos Music Library to listen to the complete Woman of the Water CD . This is a subscription service but look for the Free Preview box on the lower right.
1 The Young Girl 1:15
2 Her Words 1:42
3 The Apparition 2:50
4/5 Her Reticence / Her Longing 4:04
6 Song 1:36
7 The Moment 4:02
8 The Restored 2:35
9 Meditation 2:06
As a songwriter I am blessed by having not only a soprano, but also a poet, as my partner. Nancy Knowles has long been the creative force behind Duo LiveOak’s programming for concerts. She now helps shape my song cycles, from the choosing and sequencing of texts, to writing new poems conceived for a specific work. For Woman of the Water, Nancy put together a moving group of poems by the late American poet Theodore Roethke (pronounced ret-kee). The poems are from The Far Field, Roethke’s last book of poems, published in 1964, one year after his death. In the context of our settings, the poems trace the passions of a woman [or soul] who lives by the sea, from her awakening young body and the beginnings of love, through longing and frustration to union and joy in her later years. In his lifetime Roethke was honored with many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize; in spite of recurring bouts of depression, he produced an inspiring body of work. It is interesting to imagine Woman of the Water as an allegory of his own soul?s journey. The lute was chosen as a more graceful, feminine accompaniment to this delicate tale. The lute part is flavored by an SATB orientation, which creates simple but rich chords, yet has impressionistic flourishes and instrumental fantasy. Throughout, a repetition of motives and chord progressions unify the work.
Copyright ©2001 Frank A. Wallace
Cover photography and design by Nancy Knowles
All rights reserved.