Three Poems Around Thomas Wolfe (2018) soprano, clarinet, violin, cello + piano
This is written in loving memory of my grandmother,
Rita Francis Sever (1923-2018).
Thomas Clayton Wolfe (1900-1938) was primarily an American novelist and playwright who held poetry in such a high esteem that he would not claim to have written it. Wolfe died shortly before his 38th birthday leaving less than half of his works unpublished. John S. Barnes then scoured his novels and plays to arrange smaller sections of writings into verse. It could be argued that Wolfe’s works were hacked into verse by Barnes. I have now since twisted Barnes’ text even further to arrive at smaller snippets.
In the first movement, the text describes a narrator in early 20th Century Brooklyn listening out her window to the sounds of her city. She overhears the small talk of two neighbors. One of the neighbors has been away and learns from the other that a fellow neighbor has passed away while she has been gone.
The second and third movements are then reactions to the first. The second is light and buoyant, and the third is a form of dance.