The Meeting of Strangers
November 7, 2017
The Meeting of Strangers is a compilation of five poems by Walt Whitman concerning the relationship between strangers and the varying reactions – excitement, apprehension, sudden connection – someone can have with a person they have never met. The fourth song, To You (1) was written in the spring of 2013 as a short project at the end of my master’s degree at the University of North Texas. After having it performed at Texas Tech in the fall of 2015, I decided to expand the single song into a cycle. The tonic of each song moves through the circle of fifths between movements, and the harmonic language draws upon major and minor tonalities as well as modal ones. Despite the numerous added tones and chromatic harmonies, there are foundational chords that can be found in the music. Moments when the soprano sings the root or fifth of the chord are associated with colder, sadder emotions, and conversely, if the soprano sings the third or an added pitch, the result is warmer and paints the more joyful emotions expressed in the texts.