nicholas cline | music

Four Lindsay Poems (2012)

for baritone and three clarinets

I. The Haughty-Snail King
II. The Flower-Fed Buffaloes
III. Crickets on a Strike
IV. The Mysterious Cat


  • Connor Lidell (baritone), Erik Franklin, Joseph Miller, Keith Northover (clarinets), Ford-Crawford Hall, Bloomington, Indiana, 11/11/2012

Program Note:

Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931) was a modernist poet from Springfield, IL (the same town in which I was born, it so happens). Known as the "Prairie Troubador," Lindsay envisioned poetry to be an aural, temporal experience meant to be performed - sung, intoned, whispered, shouted, and intensified with extravagant gesticulations. As I set these poems, I attempted to evoke the musicality of the texts and channel Lindsay's performing style. The songs are varied in style and technique using a twelve-tone row, an International Workers of the World ("Wobblies") song quotation, and clarinet multiphonics. Though the instrumentation for these songs is unusual, it is not without precedent. Stravinsky's Berceuses du Chat (1915) is perhaps the most well known and The Mysterious Cat makes deliberate references to this piece.

View the score: [PDF]