Some Favored Nook (2017)

A Dramatic Song Cycle for Soprano, Baritone and Piano

Composed by Eric Nathan
Dramaturgy by Mark Campbell
Texts by Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson,
adapted by Mark Campbell and Eric Nathan

Composed for Jessica Rivera, Andrew Garland and Molly Morkoski

Duration: 45 minutes (in three parts)


ARTISTS

Click photos below for artist websites with more information


ABOUT THE WORK

“Some Favored Nook” takes place in Civil War-era America and is inspired by the significant correspondence between an unlikely pair: Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Dickinson was practically unknown during her day but is now one of the world’s most widely read poets, and Higginson was a figure who loomed large in literary and political spheres of his time, but who is now relatively forgotten. My work focuses on Dickinson's private struggle as women poet in a patriarchal society and Higginson's public struggles for women’s rights, women poets, and the abolition of slavery. I place Dickinson and Higginson's writings in the context of the Civil War and society of the time, and uses the texts as a lens to view social, political and cultural issues of this early chapter in American history – civil rights, women's rights, the effects of war, as well as many of the themes that fill Dickinson's poetry, such as love and death – all issues that are as relevant today as they were in Dickinson’s time.

Dickinson and Higginson’s correspondence spanned twenty-four years and offers an intimate look into Dickinson’s private world as well as to Higginson’s involvement in major social and political issues of the day, as the commanding officer of the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first black regiment in the Civil War. Higginson was also a noted supporter of women poets, and published the first collection of Dickinson’s poetry after her death. I set excerpts from Dickinson’s letters and poems she sent to Higginson, but as many of Higginson’s letters to her are lost, Higginson’s texts are set from his own essays as well as diaries from his “Army Life in a Black Regiment.”

This work was composed during a Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (2013-14), while in residence at Copland House, Cortlandt Manor, New York, as a recipient of the Copland House Residency Award (2017), and as part of a Visiting Artist residency at the American Academy in Rome (2017). The work is dedicated to, Jessica Rivera, Andrew Garland and Molly Morkoski.

– Eric Nathan


VIDEO (EXCERPTS)

Selected movements:

XI. There came a wind like a bugle [2:12]
Jessica Rivera (soprano), Molly Morkoski (piano)
Yellow Barn Artist Residency Workshop, videography by Michael Hanish

XIV. These are my introduction [5:26]
Jessica Rivera (soprano), Andrew Garland (baritone), Molly Morkoski (piano)
Yellow Barn Artist Residency Workshop, videography by Michael Hanish

IV. These are my introduction; V. My barefoot rank is better [5:25]
Jessica Rivera (soprano), Andrew Garland (baritone), Molly Morkoski (piano)
Yellow Barn Artist Residency Workshop, videography by Michael Hanish

VIII. There suddenly arose [2:44]
Andrew Garland (baritone), Molly Morkoski (piano)
Yellow Barn Artist Residency Workshop, videography by Michael Hanish


VIDEO (FULL)

Complete Work (live workshop performance, Yellow Barn) [46:27]
Jessica Rivera (soprano), Andrew Garland (baritone), Molly Morkoski (piano)
Yellow Barn Artist Residency Workshop, videography by Michael Hanish


VIEW SCORE

VIEW TEXTS (LIBRETTO)


YELLOW BARN ARTIST RESIDENCY WORKSHOP

Yellow Barn Artist Residency (September 19-23, 2017)
This residency was also made possible, in part, by the Brown Arts Initiative.

Read Eric Nathan's blog post on the Yellow Barn Residency Workshop of "Some Favored Nook"

 

BOOKING INFORMATION

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Please contact:

Gregory Brown (gbrown@kirshbaumassociates.com), 212-222-4843
Kirshbaum Associates Inc


The Emily Dickinson texts:

"They shut me up in prose" J 613/F 445
"They dropped like flakes" J 409/F 545
"No prisoner be" J 720/F 742
"My wars are laid away in books" J 1549/F 1579

Are set to music and reprinted in the score with permission from Harvard University Press. THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1951, 1955 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.  Copyright © renewed 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1914, 1918, 1919, 1924, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1937, 1942, by Martha Dickinson Bianchi. Copyright © 1952, 1957, 1958, 1963, 1965, by Mary L. Hampson.    

All other texts used in the work are in the public domain.