From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, A Death-Bed Adieu combines the poems of two of America’s Founding Fathers: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The first soprano sings the text of one of only two surviving poems written by George Washington, “From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, I Was Undone”. The first letter of each line of the text spells out the words Frances Alexa, referring to a woman George Washington loved. The poem is incomplete, however, since her full name is Frances Alexander. The second soprano sings the darker poem, “A Death-Bed Adieu” penned by Thomas Jefferson at the end of his life on his death bed. He addressed the poem to his daughter, Martha Randolph. The juxtaposition of these two poems, one youthfully hopeful and the other darkly resigned, creates a strange new work where love and death exist in the same time and space.

Continue reading From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, A Death-Bed Adieu

What Child Is This? is a traditional English Christmas Carol composed in the 1800s. This arrangement, commissioned by Jonathan Bautista and Nova Vocal Ensemble, fuses the melody and lyrics of “What Child is This” with motives and harmonies found in “Carol of the Bells”, a Ukrainian carol. Each voice has a chance to sing the various motives drawn from “Carol of the Bells”, making this a fun choral piece that combines two beloved Christmas carols.

Continue reading What Child is This