Three duets for mezzo-soprano and baritone

Charlston, T. (2020) Three duets for mezzo-soprano and baritone. [Composition] (Unpublished)

Abstract

These pieces began with the idea of writing a song for two to sing. They form a set and share similar contours and preoccupations. For the texts, I started by reading Keats’s ‘O solitude’ but decided to try writing in my own words about isolation. The poem of the first song (‘O solitude’) was the result and the music followed quickly. Next, I came across Robert Lowry's hymn 'How Can I Keep from Singing' which again led me to write my own text, this time about music and giving voice, becoming the third song, ‘Endless Song’. These two enclose my setting of a poem by the pianist, Alexander Kelly. Alex was Head of Keyboard at the Royal Academy of Music when I was a student there. An enthusiastic supporter, he always took time to talk and to encourage. His poem ‘Hurried Letter’ is about life, and how we live it. The three songs are duets for two voices alone and the piano accompaniment in the final duet is optional. The first performance was given on 19 July 2020 by Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano), Michael Craddock (baritone) and Alexander Soares (piano) in a live broadcast from the St Pancras Clock Tower, London.

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