ten songs of yesno was commissioned by Dr. Faustus and sets poetry by Dennis Lee. It was composed in Brookline, Massachusetts and completed in February of 2012.
ten songs of yesno is a song cycle for bass voice and piano, setting poems by Dennis Lee. The ten poems were published in the collection yesno as one set. In the words of the poet: “This set is where the exploring voice goes through the wildest oscillations – trying to affirm the yes, keeping being sucked back into the no, without being able to hold them together simultaneously – and ends up in incoherent babble and then in a dance-of-death and the stasis of burnout.”
Lee’s poems reveal to me a genuine hunger for new and personal means of expression: a hunger I share in my musical pursuits. Since Lee’s poems truly push the envelope of modern poetry, they are quite hard to penetrate, even after several readings. My goal was not to layer complexity upon complexity, but rather to allow the music to suggest a particular path – an inroad to the poems informed, but not overwhelmed, by my interpretation.