Program Note from the composer:
The dominant poetic theme of the three texts by Michelangelo Buonarroti set in “Tre Sonetti” is that of the creative soul which hopes, through its consuming pursuit of artistic beauty, to achieve a superior existence in eternity. In its service to the intense, almost unrestrained, emotions expressed by Michelangelo, the music of these settings enlists the aid of a wide range of rhetorical musical devices, devices perhaps more commonly associated with the arioso and accompanied recitative of Italian opera seria than with the art song. The vocal line, which always prevails when it is present, fluctuates, for example, between the long, breathless strands of an intimate, almost diatonic, lyricism and chains of brief, increasingly agitated, fragments shaped by wide chromatic leaps and constant dynamic change. The accompanying ensemble is also polarized between a play of short virtuosic motives and long, vocally conceived lines, between exposed but sustained two-part counterpoint and dense, mosaic-like textures to which all instruments contribute brief, highly colored particles.