SIMPLUM (2019) indeterminate duration
for voice and folk-instrument trio
text by Penina Moise
Programme Notes:

Simplum, composed in 2019 for voice and folk- (or early-) instrument trio and with an indeterminate duration, is a song written to ‘The Snow Drop’, a poem by American poet Penina Moise. Its title signifies a monophonic composition. Paying homage to the Trecento madrigal form in that the stanzas are therein separated with a ritornello, by its very design, this work marks the discovery of two new musical principles, the one, rhythmic, whereby the natural flow of the performer’s recitation of lyrics governs the pace of performance and the other, accompanimental, whereby a vocal line is sound-coloured in unison by instruments according to the phonemes of the sung text.

―Simon Kaplan

Lyrics:

When faith and hope, in firm alliance,

Set adverse fortune at defiance,

The snow-drop with its emerald stripe,

Was their selected union-type.

 

When jealousy won spotless love,

This emblem flora's fingers wove;

As if the bells of infant spring,

The knell of confidence should ring.

 

Ah, no! relenting winter brings,

This vernal cherub on his wings;

To show that justice may uphold,

Blind mercy on his pinions cold.

 

And thou art like the desert bird,

When just from nature's slumber stirred;

Alike ye start in eager haste,

And wear the livery of her waste.

transcription for voice and early-instrument trio
© 2020 Simon Kaplan