String Orchestra Version

Instrumentation: soprano, 1 percussion, 4 violin I, 4 violin II, 3 viola, 2 cello, 2 bass

World Premiere: New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra; Mark Hyzcko (conductor); Liza Sobel (soprano); June 7, 2015; Christ Church, New Brunswick, NJ

Duration: 16 minutes

Program notes and text down below

Liza Sobel (soprano); New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra; Mark Hyzcko (conductor)

Voice and Piano Version

Instrumentation: soprano/mezzo soprano and piano

Text: Richard Scott

World Premiere: Aldeburgh Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme; March 22, 2014; Peter Pears Recital Hall

Duration: 12 minutes

Liza Sobel - Skin.mp3

Skin for voice and piano

Program Notes:

I. Introduction

II. Echo's Song: Follow me

III. Echo and Narcissus Meet: Still here

IV. Narcissus' Song: Water, marble

V. Postlude

I originally wrote Skin for soprano and piano while attending the Aldeburgh Festival's English Song Project. I was paired with the poet Richard Scott. During an intensive week, Richard wrote his poems while I composed the music. (Later, I revised and expanded the work.) Richard and I decided to focus on the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus. We were attracted to the story because Echo and Narcissus each have what the other needs; Echo lacks the confidence and the ability to speak to Narcissus. On the other hand, Narcissus has too much confidence. The first song is an introduction into the entire story. The second song focuses on Echo's perspective. In the third song, Echo attempts to attract Narcissus' attention, but fails because of her inability to speak and Narcissus' self absorption. The forth song focuses on Narcissus and depicts him withering away as he is riveted to his reflection. The final song is a wordless vocalise, and it represents both characters' inability to speak by the end of their story.

The New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra commissioned me to orchestrate Skin for string orchestra and percussion. It was very challenging to transform a very pianistic work into such a different instrumentation. However, I created many exciting colors with the larger ensemble. I also connected the originally five separate songs into a continuous work with several instrumental interludes between the songs.