On the Beach at Night Alone

Mezzo-soprano, cello, and piano
Also available for piano trio and mezzo-soprano (Commissioned by Northwest Piano Trio)
Text by Walt Whitman
Duration: 6:00

The text for this far-ranging song is from the poem of the same name by Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892). In his exuberant and loquacious style, Whitman begins with a solitary reverie, looks to the vast expanse of a beach, nature, and universe beyond, building excitement by enumerating the enormity of the very contents of the universe. From the opening stanza of quiet contemplation to the final phrase, which encloses the whole of experience in a personal and universal embrace, Whitman draws a clear line between the individual and the connections between everything that surrounds us.

The musical setting for mezzo-soprano, cello, and piano is a particularly fitting combination for the expressive, expansiveness of the text. The three instruments intermingle and cross voices in sections, describe the full range of each instrument, and fluidly shift between intimately quiet and majestically grand.

“On the Beach At Night Alone,” featuring mezzo-soprano, Megan Mattoon, cellist Hannah Hillebrand, and pianist Jeongmi Yoon.