PHILIP RICE

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hear this, my Selfsame Sweetness

soprano and piano / 7.5 minutes

hear this, my Selfsame Sweetness is a poem about the conflict between love of humanity and love of the divine. The poet searches himself for answers to his own visceral reactions to God and the subject of his human affection in the phrase "i am afraid of you, and in Love with god." Musically, I tried to create "signposts" to help tell the story of the poem.
The opening figure (inspired by music of sacred minimalists such as Arvo Pärt) is meant to imitate distant church bells, and his heard during the quietest moments of the piece. It represents the reverent spiritualism as the antitheses of carnal desire. The motive immediately following is also the tolling of bells, but this time with a grounded triad in open position, punctuated with a split third, which removes the feeling of assurance—this motive represents the raw reality of the human experience, and its inherent uncertainty. The third motive (the descending scalar pattern) is heard in the piano alone until the end of the piece where it is sung on the words "then disappear." Its diminishing intervals and unstable harmony represents the ephemerality of human Love, which is revealed at the end of the poem.
Originally conceived for orchestra, a piano reduction is presented here due to convenience and time constraints in performance and recording.

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Poem by Costas Dafnis.
Recording: Katherine Travis, soprano; Philip Rice, piano

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