Eight Songs to Poems of Jane Cooper (1984) by Richard Festinger
for soprano and piano

These settings of Jane Cooper's poems on death and parting were composed over the course of a year, from March 1983 to March 1984. What attracted me in the poems was their cyclic structure, the urgency of the subject matter, and the subtlety, refinement, and sonorous quality of the language. The music is full of strong contrasts, both within and between individual songs; the differences in poetic mood are heightened and dramatized to create a strongly expressionistic and volatile work. Still one is left with the impression of a large arch, delicately but finally balanced. The voice throughout holds the thread of continuity. The piano writing, although complex, is always supportive, accompanimental, and evocative.

— R. F.    

[from program for November 4, 1985 concert]