Powers of Two Barry D. Truax

In Memoriam A.H.H., Hymn to the Moon, Beyond and Sonnet to Orpheus are excerpts of the electroacoustic opera Powers of Two. In Act 1, a duet (a setting of one of 131 stanzas written by Tennyson in memory of his friend, Arthur Hallam) is sung by the two male characters, one gay, the other straight; however, in keeping with the “twin souls” theme, the recorded version is performed by the same singer doing both parts, and is followed by a solo using a Whitman text from Leaves of Grass which also celebrates male bonding. The Hymn to the Moon is sung in Act 2 by the Sibyl in celebration of female powers. Beyond is in Act 4 where the male singer appears to have passed into another realm beyond our reality, yet longs for his lover. The Sonnet to Orpheus closes Act 1 of the opera. Through Rilke’s sonnet, the soprano sings of her longing for the ideal lover who she calls Orpheus, even as she is frustrated by the base desires of her actual lover. The poem expresses her longing for a spiritual epiphany.

Source: 2020

  • Year of composition: 1995
  • Genre: Electroacoustics
  • Format: Mixed work
  • Instrumentation: 4 singers (soprano, tenor, mezzo-soprano, baritone) and 8 digital soundtracks
  • Software used: PODX system for sound synthesis and composition
  • Duration of the submitted work: 13:05
  • Publisher: Cambridge Street Publishing
  • Premiere: June 2, 2004, Modern Baroque Opera, Vancouver
  • Disc publication: The first two excerpts are available on the Cambridge Street Records CD Twin Souls, CSR-CD 0102; the complete opera is available on Powers of Two, CSR-2CD 0401. Excerpts performed (in order) by Marcel van Neer, tenor; Fides Krucker, Mezzo-soprano; Steve Maddock, baritone; Catherine Campolin , soprano.

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