A song cycle for Soprano and Piano
Premiere: April 11, 2019: Suite Française: Onadek Winan, soprano and Arthur Williford, piano
Winner of the 1019 NATS-Art Song Competition
Elemental Earth is a cycle of 3 songs on the poems of Robert Frost: Fire and Ice, To Earthward and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
Lasser writes: “For many years, the poetry of Robert Frost has resonated deeply with me both as a musician and as a human being. At first, his words are simple and his stories seemingly benign. But as you listen to the words chosen and to their order, a deep and moving other story evolves from his poetry. A story, full of stoicism, integrity, silent honor and universal human concerns.”
“In my music, I sought not to word paint so much as to underscore this other story emerging from his words. Frost’s poem “To Earthward” for example, the poem for my second song, describes with unerring simplicity the sadness and inevitable frustration of loosing the raw feelings of joy and love that youth so easily experiences. I try in my music to bring forth the heroic pain of no longer being able to feel with the same intensity those primordial, vivid and magnificent sensations that form the richness of life. The music, like the text, seeks to feel and reaches for emotional apotheosis, only to be brought down by the inevitability of age.
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” the poem for my closing song, I feel tells a much starker story than what we commonly think of in this now legendary poem. I describe in my music, the moment, the narrator is alone on a desolate snowy road in front of a dark and deeply uncaring forest. The chilling silence and awe of a non-human universe stares the poet in the face and for a brief instant, a story, so deeply human, is uttered. I hope my music serves the poems with reverence and will perhaps guide the listener towards new stories.