Program Note

Williams first spoke to me when, as a kid, I read “The Red Wheelbarrow” and was stricken by
the power of his understanding of presence, my mind pausing over and again from the manic
dartings of tweenhood on my uncle’s back yard in Tennessee, one of the most beautiful pieces of
farmland left in the country. After having read the bulk of his published works, the clarity of
emotion he conjures through simple reflections on his surroundings and the potent nature of
interconnection among all things continues to thrill my reading of his poetry. As with any
setting of someone else’s text that I attempt, the goal of the music is to give his words a place to
breathe in public and a chance to offer the listener a view into the emotional nature of my
response to the text.
This being the case, the words are paramount. Appropriate text inflection/rhythm always
supersedes other musical considerations (meter included). This, of course, must exist within
musical phrases, etc., but textual communication must drive decisions as they drove the
composition. Each poem is separated by double bar lines, but the piece as a whole contains no

About David Harris

David Harris (DMA, b. 1974) specializes in new music, American music, and the intricacies of communication in singing and conducting. Through innovation, performance, and research, David enlivens community through the…