Your Beauty

It occurs to me that I have never uploaded what may or may not be the finished “Your Beauty,” the art song I wrote for John Tibbetts, the wonderful young baritone from Georgia State.  John was a Social Studies major at GHP in 2008 and for some reason decided I would make an adequate mentor/friend for his youth.  Well, better than Socrates, I suppose.

Anyway, for two years I’ve been promising him a song for his senior recital, and since he’s now making decisions about that performance for next year, it was time for me to put up or shut up.

I scribbled a mad text, and then had a horrific time making it work.  It was at least a 6 on the LSCA.  And I’m not sure it works.  Neither is John, so we’re even.  I’ve made him promise to dig into it and report back from his lofty perch at the Central City Opera Summer Festival. If it can be fixed, so; if not, I’ll try again with something different.  (The third possibility, that it just works, has not really occurred to me.)

The problem is with the middle section, when the text breaks down along with the narrator’s thought process.  The narrator is musing to his lover that she is so beautiful that he feels he’s never really seen or touched her, just her beauty.  The idea drives him slightly insane there in the middle until he reaches what seems to be a startling conclusion for him.  And before anyone objects to that passage, I’d like to point out that the baritone in question asked for that F#.  So there.

The sheerly technical problem with the center section is that the computer can play eighth notes only in rhythm.  It can’t, as John and an accompanist would do, break free of the meter and let the notes/words rush out in a torrent, only to be pulled up short by the “full value” segments.  The computer can’t sound crazy.  It can’t sound as if it’s having an orgasm.  (No, I don’t know whether John can either, so shut your filthy mind you pervert.  Yes, Jobie, I’m looking at you.)

So there are my misgivings.   Comments in the comments.

“Your Beauty” | score (pdf) | mp3

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