Dashow, Saylor & Sims: Vocal Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR578     Release Date: 2007-01-01
Joan Logue, soprano; Mario Buffa, violin; Giancarlo Simonacci, piano; Constance Beavon, mezzo-soprano; David Abramovitz, piano; Miles Hoffman, viola; Janice Felty, mezzo-soprano; Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble: [Thomas Hannton, French horn; Ian Greitzer, clarinet; Suellen Hershman, alto flute; James Orleans, bass; Anne Black, viola; Donald Davis, trombone; David Hoose, Conductor]


Once again, bookstore browsing brought a slim volume to my attention. This time the book was by poet John Berryman and contained his first group of Dream Songs. The expression of moods ranging from exhilaration to mumbling uncertainty, from an urbane sophisticated intelligence to a k.o.’d, ironic cynic were all compressed into a series of short, densely composed poems. Each of the poems was dominated by one feeling while still conveying hints of others. Together they painted a portrait of a complex, deeply feeling human being trying to come to grips with the realities of contemporary life. All this was immediately and profoundly provocative to me and I began to conceive musical ideas corresponding to the individual poems as well as to the main character, Henry. My intention was to pick the most poignantly characteristic poems or sections of poems with which to provide a complementary musical framework for Berryman’s hero (or rather, for Berryman as Henry, notwithstanding the poet’s denial)...
—James Dashow

The composition of Bruce Saylor’s Songs from Water Street began when the American poet J.D. McClatchy commissioned Saylor to compose a musical setting of a poem by James Merrill to honor the latter poet’s fiftieth birthday in 1976. Saylor chose “Swimming by Night,” which he set for baritone and piano. When violist Miles Hoffman approached the composer about writing a new work for a 1980 recital, Saylor transformed “Swimming by Night” into a song for mezzo-soprano, viola, and piano and added four new songs to the group, all set to poems from Merrill’s Water Street collection.

Ezra Sims' Come Away was written for Laurel Stavis and Dinosaur Annex and was first performed by them in the Spring of 1979.

The second song, the lullaby (“Come, Sleep, and with thy sweet deceiving”), came first. After that, the other poems were chosen for textural and musical reasons; they are all apostrophes beginning with the same word, and they are all amenable to treatment with the musical materials of the lullaby.

The result is a cycle moving from youth’s impetuous eroticism (“Come, oh come, my life’s delight”) through the discontents and resignations of the middles years, to maturity’s calm and joyous acceptance of death (“Come, lovely and soothing death”).


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV

Various Artists

Dashow, Saylor & Sims: Vocal Works

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

Some Dream Songs: Verse One
James Dashow
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Some Dream Songs: Verse Two
James Dashow
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Some Dream Songs: Verse Three
James Dashow
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Some Dream Songs: Verse Four
James Dashow
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Some Dream Songs: Verse Five
James Dashow
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Some Dream Songs: Verse Six
James Dashow
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Songs from Water Street: I. A Vision of The Garden
Bruce Saylor
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Songs from Water Street: II. From a Notebook
Bruce Saylor
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Songs from Water Street: III. Swimming by Night Tarantella
Bruce Saylor
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Songs from Water Street: IV. The Parrot Fish
Bruce Saylor
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Songs from Water Street: V. The Water Hyacinth
Bruce Saylor
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Come Away
Ezra Sims
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