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Program note: Robert Douglas's "A Se Stesso"

  • © Robert Douglas
  • Source: Source: Flederman Program, 1985


A se stesso' was commissioned by Flederman and is a setting of a poem of the same name by the 19th century ltalian poet, Giacomo Leopardi. The structure of the piece is based on the large-scale rhetorical form of the poem, which alternates between passages in the imperative, eg. 'Posa per sempre.' (Rest forever), 'T' acqueta omai.' (Be still from now on) - and their supporting arguments, eg. Amaro e noia la vita, altro mai nulla.'(Life is bitterness and tedium, never anything else) - ending with an exhortation, 'Omai disprezza te, la natura . . '' (Henceforth despise nature . . .).


The instrumental interludes extend and amplify their preceding arguments which are characterized by the use of very open, slow-moving textures.


The composer would like to thank Francesca Smith for her assistance with the text.


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