Once More, With Feeling (Orchestra)

ENS.2024.3 | 17′
Soprano, Orchestra
Poems by Adam Fitzgerald


1. A Few Rehearsals

2. Two Persons Both Assigned to Seating Chart B22

3. Coda

4. Something You Heard In A Dream Once

5. Allo, Mzechabuki

6. Erratum Musical

Once More, With Feeling

Once More, With Feeling is simultaneously an expansion, reduction, orchestration, and general rethinking of a song cycle originally composed in 2016 for voice with piano and percussion. Like other works in my “palimpsest” series, although Once More, With Feeling shares a title and musical material with its (withdrawn) predecessor, I have removed much from that failed earlier version, retaining only what seemed worthwhile, rewriting everything that didn’t, in the process creating what I consider an essentially new composition. In this case, it turned out there was a lot that needed doing. Although I liked about half of the original songs in their most basic lead sheet format (“pop melodies + triads”), there were too many (slow) songs, all unfortunately sounding roughly the same, and even at the time I struggled with the simplistic, trite accompaniment I’d devised.

Drawing on the detailed orchestral approaches of composers like Hans Abrahamsen and Kaija Saariaho, in revisiting this cycle I have fashioned a lush new elaborate symphonic setting for this “orchestral EP.” Even the most casual listener will identify obvious homages to a variety of composers I’ve always loved, from Philip Glass (in Coda) and Michael Nyman (to whom Allo, Mzechabuki is dedicated)—although I wonder if either composer would approve of the kinds of textures found in this piece! Finally, I hope that my attempt to create a more clear musical narrative by removing four of the original poem’s ten sections from this setting and reordering the remainder justifies the violence I have done to Adam Fitzgerald’s marvelous poem.

First limned in 2016, Once More, With Feeling was newly (re)composed in Spring 2024 and lasts about seventeen minutes.