Epigrams from Poor Richard
for voice and tape (1986)
American Composers Alliance, 8 minutes
"This is a hilariously funny
work with wildly expressive, unusual vocal sounds." (NATS Journal)
Nine Epigrams was
written for Joan LaBarbara during a residency at the Cummington
of the Arts in the summer of 1986. The texts are humorous
proverbs from Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac. Each
proverb is sung, whispered or spoken, usually on tape, while the
live voice makes commentary with sweeps of reinforced harmonics,
glottal or yodel flutters, voiced whistles, and tongue clicks.
This piece may be performed by
male or female voice. The singer prepares the tape from instructions
in the score and performs with the resulting tape. Additionally,
it is suggested that a male sing the section "Sally Laughs" in
Nine Epigrams was premiered
by Joan LaBarbara at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge as
part of a concert series featuring women's music. A male
singer, Reinaldo Martinez, gave a performance at Memphis State
University in 1992.
See texts below.
See page of score below.
To order the
score: American Composers Alliance
Nine Epigrams from Poor Richard
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's
He that composes himself is wiser
than he that composes music.
Truth is bitter but a lie is
savoury at times.
Who lies down with dogs rises
up with fleas.
Three can keep a secret if two
Wedlock, as old men note, hath
Unto a public crowd or common rout;
Where those that are without would fain
And those that are within would fain get
Sally laughs at everything you
Why? Because she has fine teeth.
Here comes Glib-Tongue who can
a dedication and lie like ten epitaphs.
People wrapped up in themselves
make small packages.
Happy the nation, fortunate the
whose history is not diverting.