PDF score of If starlight be.
Felicia Zamora’s poem If starlight be uses light and electromagnetic radiation as metaphors for our own energy and agency, while calling out injustice in our nation and our world.
Such an intense text demanded active, virtuosic music to express the full expanse aspirations and unfulfilled promises. The song makes use of the full range of both singer and pianist in fierce, energetic melodic lines and harmonic clusters. In brief moments of reflection, the texture thins and the singer floats in space, vulnerably questioning before the tumult begins anew.
If starlight be was commissioned by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and Cincinnati Song Initiative with major support from Lori Laitman, and was premiered on Cincinnati Song Initiative’s Let it Be New concert in June 2022 by Christina Hazen, mezzo-soprano, and Christina Lalog, pianist. Special thanks to Tom Cipullo, my mentor in the NATS Composer Mentorship Program.
Mezzo-Soprano (or Medium Voice) & Piano
Vocal Range: B3-A-flat5
Additional transpositions available by request.
If starlight be (first two stanzas)
by Felicia Zamora
If starlight be how visible & electromagnetic your
form; & all the parts of the unseen we take for granted;
decisions on Capitol Hill spoken into law without say
of anyone other than, say elected official, say O radiation of
you lost behind another broken system; say we made it someone’s
job to speak for us & now & now; what light bares in us.
If starlight be waves in carry through space; say speed of
light in a vacuum; how a country moves with the voices
of its people on its back; how we carried by misdeeds
in a justice system that sees color & distastes it, sees
the poor under its gavel & wields despite, blindfold
long removed moons ago, scales in twist in distort.