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Written under a grant from the New York State Creative Artists Public Service Program (CAPS). World Premiere:  Sandra Goodman, mezzo-contralto, Third Street Music School Settlement, New York City.

I.    Old Woman

II.   Next Door

III. To Waken an Old Lady

Cheryl Bensman, mezzo soprano; Linda Kobler, piano:

The audio excerpt song from Twilight Serenade heard on this site, "Old Woman," is set to "Old Woman" by Linda Pastan from The Five Stages of Grief, Poems by Linda Pastan, used with the permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton, Inc. ©1978 by Linda Pastan.


Twilight Serenade is a cycle of three songs on the subject of old age. In the setting, Linda Pastan's poem, "Old Woman," and William Carlos Williams' "To Waken an Old Lady," frame a larger central poem, Richard Wilbur's, "Next Door." Wilbur's reverie about an old age home next door imagines its occupants with frail, remnants of memories, returned to their childlike nature, and playing roles of characters from mythology. The long, winding vocalise that forms the centerpiece of this song represents the musings of the aged lot as they "invent out of their fabulous memeories, Alcestis climbing home again, with big Death-bullying Heracles."

Twilight Serenade: I. Old Woman

Cover illustration © by Albert Glinsky 

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