There is something about the poetry of Langston Hughes that makes me want to write for voice! The simplicity and directness of the language, the strong moral compass, the need to reflect upon the thoughts and dreams of his people in a language that they would appreciate…….Twenty years ago, Gail Levinsky and Jackie Edwards Henry came to me. They wanted me to write a new composition for saxophone, piano and tenor voice. It was their hope to premiere the work with faculty colleague McCray Davis. I agreed to write the piece and began my journey with the poetry of this amazing man. The resulting work Langston’s Lot, has been performed a number of times over the years.
In 2015, Jackie and Gail asked me to provide a new Langston song cycle, this time using a female voice. This sent me back to the drawing board, providing a new, unique angle to pursue. The texts have been selected, permissions have been secured, and work is underway. The new work: Langston’s Lot: Song is a Strong Thing has seven movements, just like its predecessor. Vocal lines have been sketched for all seven movements; now I am working my way through the instrumental parts. Stay tuned for progress reports on this very special project….