Eyerly on Song

"My major 'instrument' was always voice. Though I could never stand practicing piano, I loved to sing. Even critics who have likened my music to waste products have grudgingly admitted, 'He does write well for the voice.' Well, I'd better. It's the thing in music I've understood longest." Scott Eyerly 

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Creatures Great and Small
A song cycle for mezzo-soprano and string quintet (or piano).
Duration 25 minutes.

A song cycle of poetry about animals, each by a different writer. Among the zoo: a cat listening to Mozart, a family of penguins playing on ice, and a hamster driving his owner crazy. The authors range from such masters as Gabrielle Mistral to new favorites like Douglas Florian. Running through the cycle is a musical quote from the hymn "All Things Bright and Beautiful," because of its famous second line, "All creatures great and small." Commissioned by Judy Francis Zankel, the cycle was written for Jennifer Larmore, who performed the world premiere at the Festival Savoy Truffle in Megève, France in 2018 with the string quintet OpusFive. Also available is a version with piano accompaniment.

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A Clear Midnight 
A song cycle for tenor and piano  
Duration 25 minutes.  

A song cycle of poetry by Walt Whitman about night. Whitman's poems travel through sleep, dreams, death, the planets and stars, and other nocturnal realms. A Clear Midnight begins and ends with the title poem; in-between are excerpts from the mystical ode "The Sleepers," as well as complete settings of "Old War-Dreams," "I Heard You Solemn-Sweet Pipes of the Organ," and "On the Beach at Night."  

A Clear Midnight may be performed as a cycle or as excerpted songs.  

Seaside Golf  
for baritone and piano  
Duration 4 minutes.  

An amusing soliloquy by John Betjeman, describing one duffer's exultant moment. 

Algonquin Songs  
for soprano, baritone and piano  
Duration 15 minutes.  

The greatest wits of 1920's New York lunched at the Algonquin Hotel's "Round Table," among them, Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Ring Lardner and Franklin Pierce Adams. Algonquin Songs comprises verse by these four satirists, from Adams' wry "Palm Beach," to Lardner's deadpan "Autobiography," to Parker's surprisingly touching "Fair Weather."  

Two of the settings are duets. In Kaufman's "Billing, Schmilling,"  
the baritone portrays "Ham" and the soprano "Eggs," bickering over which one of them should headline; the music spoofs grand opera. In "Palm Beach," a society guest list becomes a tour-de-force of patter for both singers. Of the other five songs, three are for baritone (including Parker's "Parable for a Certain Virgin") and two are for soprano (including Parker's "Bohemia").  

Algonquin Songs may be performed either as a set or as excerpted songs. 

Three Whitman Songs
for bass-baritone and piano  
Duration 8 minutes.   

One of Whitman's best-known poems, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" (set to dreamy, rhythmically free music) is followed by one of his most obscure, "Old Salt Kossabone" (a sailor's tale, set as a jaunty song). The final poem is again familiar, "I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing," one of Whitman's most moving (set in gently lyric fashion).