The Emily Dickinson Songbook

There has been much discussion and debate relating to Emily Dickinson’s life, poems and letters of correspondence but there has been surprisingly little study done into the ever-broadening pool of song settings of her works. Yet American song composers, from as early as 1896, have been consistently drawn to the economy, beauty and inherent musicality of Dickinson’s poetic style.

The songs featured in today’s recital provide us with an opportunity to observe not only a profound evolution of Dickinson’s literary style, both in theme and poetic device, but also an opportunity to hear some of the finest American art song composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The musical settings provide us, the listener, with a unique platform where we can hear Dickinson’s poems and letters in a more full and embodied way. Her words, which are so concise yet electric and intense, now have the added layering of the musical score to release sub-layers and textures. In doing so these musical settings bring us closer to the emotional contours of our own lives and experiences. These settings will be complimented and enhanced by Gabriella Santinelli’s evocative reading of Dickinson’s poetry and Cliff Dolliver’s inventive designs.

In my time as a DMus candidate at the RCM I have had the distinct privilege of working with a number of mentors and collaborative artists. My deepest gratitude goes to , among others, Roger Vignoles, Dr Ingrid Pearson, Dr Amanda Glauert, Dr Sabine Sielke, Paul Sperry, Dr Colin Lawson, Cassandra Manning, Robert Craig, Gemma Sugrue, Brendan Collins, Jane Sheldon , Gabriella Santinelli and Cliff Dolliver for their support and encouragement.

It is my wish that today’s performance will, ideally, establish a new forum for the way in which we «read» and «hear» the work of Emily Dickinson.