Complete Piano Music by Ned Rorem
You can play piano pieces by Ned Rorem if you’d like to expand your repertoire. These pieces are usually arranged in standard song form, but some of them feature unusual structures. For example, the Poems of Love and the Rain cycle comprises 17 songs that are structured in reverse order. The title poem is set twice, with the other poems set in their original order. Alternatively, the Sun cycle presents eight poems as a single continuous movement.
Ned Rorem’s harmonic language
Rorem’s musical output spans several genres, from opera and choral pieces to orchestral works and chamber music. He also composed piano music and incidental music for plays and ballets. His early instrumental works were influenced by 20th-century French composers, who had explored expanded tonality through altered chords and polymodality. Later, in his career, Rorem turned to a modified serial style in his orchestral works, abandoning the sonata form and writing more variation forms and multi-movement pieces.
Born in Richmond, Indiana, Rorem was raised in Chicago. He studied piano with Sowerby and Bonds, and went on to study composition at Northwestern University. After completing his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, he attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he studied with Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson.
His song cycles
The piano is Rorem’s instrument, and the realm of song has been his passion throughout his career. His Rees, Robinson, and Lowenthal cycle features six songs, including one set to the poems of Wallace Stevens. The songs are a celebration of his gift for lyricism, with such gems as “Such Beauty As Hurts to Behold” and “Spring” shining with a luminous simplicity. Other pieces in this cycle include “Visits to St. Elizabeths” – a setting of Elizabeth Bishop after visiting Ezra Pound.
Throughout his song cycles, Rorem exhibits a variety of styles and influences. He used expressive vocabulary that was popular in the mid-20th century, yet remained true to tonal harmony. He was influenced by the English language, particularly its rhythms and inflections, as well as the urge to explore the space between emotions.
His piano concerto
If you’re looking for an excellent collection of piano music, you’ll want to look into Ned Rorem’s complete piano music. Rorem was born in 1923 in Richmond, Indiana, and began piano lessons at a young age. He studied under several teachers, including Margaret Bonds and Nuta Rothschild, and he also attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and Northwestern University. He earned his master’s degree from Juilliard, and later worked privately with Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson in New York.
Rorem composed many piano works for different orchestras and was a major influence on American classical music. His Piano Concerto for Left Hand and Orchestra premiered in 1993 and received international praise. He also wrote a concerto for English horn and orchestra, which was performed by the New York Philharmonic on its 150th anniversary in 1994.
His song cycles for Walt Whitman
Despite the fact that the songs in Rorem’s song cycles for Walt Waltman are generally in traditional song forms, there is something odd about their structure. In Poems of Love and the Rain, for example, the text is set twice, in reverse order. Similarly, Sun (1967) presents eight poems in one continuous movement, with the ninth poem serving as the central song.
Rorem chose the mezzo-soprano for dramatic recitations, as well as a more lyrical approach. In Middles, the singers answered the question “How can I fill this thick lung with breath?” in turn. In the final song, the poet’s The Comfort of Friends, written by William Penn, Rorem chose the mezzo-sophisticated voice for dramatic utterances.