Peacock presumes to die! (2014)
Duration: 12:00 minutes
Instrumentation: solo voice
Premiere: "i breathed" September 14, 2014 at Constellation (Chicago) by Lindsay Kesselman, soprano
complete set March 6, 2015 at Texas State University by Kathryn Findlen, mezzo soprano
These five songs were inspired by the solitary intimacy of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. While her work covers such a breadth of emotions, from stillness to breathless excitement to playfulness and even melodrama, the aloneness of the poetry’s persona has always struck me the most. In setting these poems for unaccompanied singer, I have tried to capture the many voices of being alone, whether singing to one’s self or shouting in the wilderness.
The title comes from another Dickinson poem, in which she seems to step outside herself and her morbid sensibility with a droll final line.
If this is "fading"
Oh let me immediately "fade”!
If this is "dying"
Bury me, in such a shroud of red!
If this is "sleep,"
On such a night
How proud to shut the eye!
Good Evening, gentle Fellow men!
Peacock presumes to die!