Score Pricing
Want to commission a piece?

Lola Ridge Songs (2018)

for SSAA choir | 00:15:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Lola Ridge

Related Works

Commissioned by Women’s Ensemble and Bella Voce from Acalanes High School, Lafayette, CA (Bruce Lengacher, Director), Ancora from the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, Oakland, CA (Robert Geary, Director), and the Cornell University Chorus (Robert Isaacs, Conductor).

A collection of four songs setting poetry by Lola Ridge.

It's strange about stars...
From Sun-Up [IV. Betty] by Lola Ridge (1920)

It's strange about stars ...
You have to be still when they look at you.
They push your song inside of you with their song.
Their long silvery rays
sink into you and do not hurt.
It is good to feel them resting on you
like great white birds...
and their shining whiteness
doesn't burn like the sun —
it washes all over you
and makes you feel cleaner'n water.

Shadows over a cradle...
From Sun-Up by Lola Ridge (1920)

(Shadows over a cradle...
fire-light craning...
A hand
throws something in the fire
and a smaller hand
runs into the flame and out again,
singed and empty...
settling over a cradle...
two hands
and a fire.)

Different kinds of shadows
From Sun-Up [IV. Betty] by Lola Ridge (1920)

There are different kinds of shadows.
The blind ones
are the shadows of things.
These are the tame shadows—
they love to play on the wall with you
and follow you about like cats and dogs.
they hiss at you softly
like snakes that do not bite,
or swish like women's dresses,
but if you poke a candle at them
they pull in their heads and disappear.

But there is a shadow
that is not the shadow of a thing...
it is a thing itself.
When you meet this shadow
you must not look at it too long...
it grows with your looking at it...
till you are all alone
with nothing around you...
nothing... nothing... nothing...
but a shadow
with its eyes full of black light.

It isn't a dream...
From Sun-Up [I. Celia] by Lola Ridge (1920)

It isn't a dream....
It comes again and again....
You hear ivy crying on steeples
the flames haven't caught yet
and images screaming
when they see red light on the lilies
on the stained glass window of St. Joseph.
The girl with the black eyes holds you tight,
and you run... and run
past the wild, wild towers...
and trees in the gardens tugging at their feet
and little frightened dolls
shut up in the shops
crying... and crying... because no one stops...
you spin like a penny thrown out in the street
Then the man clutches her by the hair....
He always clutches her by the hair....
His eyes stick out like spears.
You see her pulled-back face
and her black, black eyes
lit up by the glare....
Then everything goes out.
Please God, don't let me dream any more
of the girl with the black, black eyes.

Artwork by NASA, Aurelian Sandulescu, and Melissa Dunphy.