Parker Poesies

About Parker Poesies

Parker Poesies (2009) for Mezzo Soprano and Piano (ca. 7′)

I.   Threnody (ca. 2’30″)

II.  The Thin Edge (ca. 2’30″)

III.  Coda (ca. 2’30″)

with poetry by Dorothy Parker, used by kind permission of the NAACP

The poet Dorothy Parker is best known for her humorous work for The New Yorker in the 1920s and 1930s. Her poems have an off-the-cuff wit and poignancy, complicated by their metrical skill and devastating sense of irony. Parker is a master of combining craft and informality. The way Parker’s texts seem to hide, yet celebrate, their skill is reminiscent of the way successful jazz compositions combine sophisticated musical elements with informal play to create a productive context for skillful interpreters.

This song cycle draws on jazz harmonies and jazz stylistic motifs, rhythms and accompanying figures to complement these features of Parker’s work. These three short pieces explore bossa, ballad, swing, and up-tempo. The piano part is written in a semi-improvisatorial manner, though fully notated. The voice part uses bel canto and classical singing as well as notated and non-improvised scat syllables to explore the stylistic norms of jazz melody.

The score for Parker Poesies is published by Glenlake Press with the kind permission of the NAACP.  To Purchase, click here.

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