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RCL-005 Rich Campbell Coney Island

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Catalogue #:RCL-005
Duration:app. 4'
Descriptive Tags
Composer Coney Island
...haunting... comforting... effective in its sparseness.

— Lee Hartman, kcmetropolis.org

Rich Campbell

Coney Island

for a cappella SATB choir

“Coney Island,” was written by Pulitzer prize winning American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) and was first published in 1911 in the collection “Helen of Troy and Other Poems.”. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she lived for many years in New York City. My immigrant great-grandparents settled in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1890’s, and lived near Coney Island’s world-famous amusement park during its heyday. Growing up in New York, I have joyful memories of Coney Island’s beach and boardwalk attractions. The wintry, bleak landscape of Teasdale’s poem contrasts sharply with my sunny memories. This intrigued me. Structurally, the poem is in two sections, and the musical composition follows this form. Two melodic fragments are heard in the opening measures of the soprano part and immediately inverted or “mirrored” by the basses. The first fragment, built on seconds, develops in various ways and returns in triplets in the second half. The other fragment, written in larger intervals, reappears, augmented, in the bass section, then in counterpoint near the end. Teasdale’s poem is often described as “haunting,” a mood I hoped to convey.


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