elizabeth vercoe composer

In the Storm
for mezzo or soprano, clarinet & piano (1989)

American Composers Alliance, 15 minutes mp3

"nicely crafted...fully felt"  (Boston Globe)

Described by the Boston Globe as reflecting "a certain glowering Winslow Homer pictorialism," In the Storm is a set of four songs for mezzo soprano, clarinet and piano that is based on texts by the Austrian poet, Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1973).  The music was commissioned in 1989 by Chamber Music in Watertown.

In the Storm was premiered by mezzo soprano D`Anna Fortunato with her trio, Soli Espri, to commemorate ten years of the concert series, Chamber Music in Watertown.  Fortunato has also performed the piece at Harvard University, SUNY/Albany, the New School of Music, and on WGBH-FM live broadcasts.

See score sample & texts below.

To order the score: elizvercoe@yahoo.com

D'Anna Fortunato

by Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-73)
translated by Mark Anderson


1.   Aria I

Wherever we turn in the storm of roses
thorns illuminate the night.  And the thunder
of a thousand leaves, once so quiet on the bushes
is right at out heels.

2.  Fire

There is fire under the earth,
and the fire is pure.

There is fire under the earth
and molten rock.

There is a torrent under the earth,
it will stream into us.

There is a torrent under the earth,
it will scorch our bones.

A great fire is coming,
a torrent is coming over the earth.

We shall be witnesses.

3.  Aria II

Wherever we turn in the storm of roses
thorns illuminate the night.   And the thunder
of a thousand leaves, once so quiet on the bushes
is right at out heels.

Wherever the roses’ fire is put out,
rain washes us into the river.  Oh distant night!
Yet a leaf that touched us now floats on the waves,
following us to the sea.

4.  Deluge

After this deluge
I would like to see the dove,
and nothing but the dove,
saved once more.

For I’d perish in this sea!
if she didn’t fly away,
if she didn’t bring back,
in the last hour,
the leaf.

Bachman Biography
1926  Born on June 25 in Klagenfurt in southeastern Austria near the Yugoslavian and  Italian border.
1945-50  University study in Innsbruck, Graz, and Vienna, at first in law and  philosophy, later exclusively in philosophy.
1950  Degree awarded by the University of Vienna for a dissertation entitled The  Critical Reception of Martin Heidegger's Existential Philosophy.
1951-3  Scriptwriter for the radio group Rot/Weiss/Rot in Vienna.
1952  First reading for the literary group "47" in Niendorf.  Libretto for the ballet,
 The Idiot,with music by Hans Werner Henze.
1953-7  Residence in Italy.
1954  Radio play, The Cicadas
1955  Literary prize of the Cultural Circle of German Industry.  Travel to the US at the
 invitation of Henry Kissinger and Harvard University.
1956  Invocation of the Great Bear,poetry, published.
1957  Literature prize by the city of Bremen.
1957-8  Residence in Munich.
1958  The Good God of Manhattan,a radio play.
1958-73  Residence in Zurich and primarily in Rome.
1959-60  First lecturer in newly created chair for poetry at the Univ. of Frankfurt.
1960  Libretto for Henze's opera, The Prince of Homburg.
1961  Berlin Critic's Prize for The Thirtieth Year, stories.
1964  Georg Büchner Prize. A Place of Chance,essay and acceptance speech for Büchner
          Prize published with thirteen drawings by Günter Grass.
1965  Libretto for The Young Lord, a comic opera by Henze.
1968  Grand Austrian State Prize.
1971 Malina, a novel, published.  Anton Wildgan Prize.
1973  Death in a fire in Rome on October 17.