Two Still Lifes

for soprano, flute, bassoon, percussion, piano, violin, and cello


9 minutes

Poetry: Wallace Stevens

First performances: Tulane University
New Orleans, LA, Jan 30, 1978

University of Miami
Miami, FL, March 22, 1978

“the most potent piece on the program, at least to my ears, was Randall Shinn’s Two Still Lives, light-textured, lyrical studies, transparently scored for flute, bassoon, percussion, violin and cello, as background for Janet Walp’s serene soprano....[Shinn] has something significant and stimulating to say.”—James Roos, The Miami Herald

[Not available for performance.]

Composer Notes: I loved the exquisite Miami performance and James Roos’s review, but by then I already felt that Wallace Steven’s poetry and the musical language I had used to set it were at odds with what I most wanted “to say” as a composer.

The work’s lyricism was on track, as well as the light-textured orchestration, both of which were beautifully showcased by the Miami performance. But in other regards I had begun moving toward a more overtly expressive style, and from my later aesthetic stance this particular work came to feel too reflective and emotionally distant.1