“Playground Songs”


Text by Dallas Woodburn
Music by Alex Marthaler

Studio Recording: Joanna Latini, soprano; Alex Marthaler, piano
Recorded in the Vlahakis Recording Studio, Carnegie Mellon University
Riccardo Shultz, engineer
Available for soprano and chamber ensemble or soprano and piano. Recording of chamber ensemble version coming fall 2015.

With Playground Songs, I have had the good fortune of collaborating with poet and literacy advocate Dallas Woodburn, whose poetry I came across while researching this piece. Her first book, published at age ten, is a collection of her own short stories and poems, titled “There’s a Huge Pimple On My Nose.” Now fifteen years later, Dallas agreed to write new text to accompany several poems she wrote at age ten. This song cycle explores the idea of growing up by pairing the world as seen through the eyes of a child with the realizations and situations that come with age. In these six poems, we encounter a child’s unbounded excitement, her limitless imagination, but also a young adult’s hopeless devotion, disenchantment, and always-unfailing spirit.

In respect to the movements’ ordering, the choice to alternate the voice of the child with the voice of the adult was intentional. The poetry was all written by the same person, and I wanted to avoid making the piece “transformative” or simply “coming of age.” Rather, the cycle illuminates the perception of similar experiences as seen through different lenses in time. Thank you, Dallas, for joining me on this project.

Playground Songs, for soprano and chamber ensemble, was written in 2014 and has a duration of approximately 16’.

~Alex Marthaler