A London Throughfare: 2 A.M. (2007)

for soprano and orchestra
duration 14:00

A London Thoroughfare, 2. A.M., for soprano and orchestra, is a setting of Amy Lowell’s poem “A London Thoroughfare, 2 A.M.” from Sword Blades and Poppy Seeds (1914). Commissioned by the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, this piece was originally intended as a companion piece to Ralph Vaughan-Williams London Symphony.

Lowell is an American and a stranger in London. Although published in 1914, the same year as Vaughan-Williams’ London Symphony, the poem speaks to today's urban experience with cabs and glaring lamps that block out the night sky and feelings of disillusionment and isolation in the face of a city that seems as unnatural, powerful and unstoppable as a “river leading nowhere.”

In this song, the singer is surrounded by a sound-world that depicts her intimidating environment and reflects her thoughts and feelings on it. The music builds to climactic intensity as the singer explores the city at night. A brief quotation from the Vaughan-Williams symphony brings to mind the clarity and simplicity of an earlier time: perhaps a moonlit reflection on a grand old building.



commissioned by the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra
premiere: Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra (Reading, UK), January 26 2008
additional performances: Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), April 13 2008

2009 ASCAP Morton Gould Award Finalist