Of Challenge and Of Love

Song Collection

Of Challenge and Of Love is a song cycle by Elliott Carter setting five poems by John Hollander. The song cycle is for soprano and piano.

Of Challenge and Of Love was composed in 1994 for Lucy Shelton and John Constable. The premiere was given by these performers in 1995 at the Aldeburgh Festival.

Date: 1994Composer: Benjamin CarrText: John Hollander

Print vitals & song text


Composer’s Note:


“John Hollander’s poetry has fascinated me for many years because of its poetic skills, its awareness of our cultural past and its wide-ranging modern expressivity. So when Lucy Shelton (whose performances of my work are superb) and the Aldeburgh Festival proposed that I write a cycle for her, I accepted with great pleasure. The choice of the texts from many of Hollander’s books and a type-written script of Quatrains from Harp Lake (which John tells me is the Sea of Galilee) are basically focused around the character of that poem with its brief, vividly contrasting quatrains that have an under-current of irony and deep anxiety that is also found in the other four poems in different ways. The score was composed in the last months of 1994 in New York City.”

–Elliott Carter, courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes


Poetry by John Hollander

1. High on Our Tower
2. Under the Dome
3. Am Klavier (At the Piano)
4. Quatrains from Harp Lake
5. End of a Chapter

[The text of these songs is currently unavailable.]

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