Sappho Fragments (2004) by Richard Aldag
for soprano, violin, viola, and cello
World premiere; Earplay commission

Sappho Fragments

I. You came
And I was mad
To have you.
Your breath
Cooled my heart
That was burning with desire.

II. Then love shook my heart
Like the wind that falls on oaks
In the mountains.

III. You have forgotten me
Or else you love some person
More than me.

IV Fool.
Don't try to bend a foolish heart.

Sappho Fragments is based on fragments of four lyric love poems by the renowned ancient Greek poet. The texts progress from the excitement of a fervent new love to the realization that what was once an intense passion has now expired, and they display a range of emotions from tranquil tenderness to frantic desperation. As with the majority of my music, there are diverse influences, ranging from the sensual lyricism of Monteverdi's 7th and 8th Books of Madrigals and Dallapiccola's vocal works to the dense "minimalism" of Ralph Shapey.

— R. A.    

[from program for November 9, 2004 concert]