The Solitude of Stars
Joseph Francavilla, piano
Utah Arts Festival commissioned the original sextet.
Theodore Presser Company
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In 2014, I enjoyed a wonderful residence at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming. Ucross is an artist colony that gives writers, composers, and visual artists the gift of time, space, and support to follow their artistic pursuits; we are provided with studio space, housing, and meals so that we can work almost continuously on our projects. I have been in residence at numerous artist colonies; however, nothing in my previous experiences prepared me for living in such isolated, wild country. Ucross is situated on a 20,000-acre cattle ranch at nearly 4,000 feet in elevation with fewer than 150 people living within the town. But what Clearmont lacks in population, it makes up for abundantly and spectacularly in wilderness and wildlife. I composed the sextet Postcards from Wyoming to portray three glimpses of what I found to be the most striking aspects of my residence.
The Solitude of Stars, the third and final movement of the original sextet, was inspired by the stunning nightly display of the heavens above. Without city lights dimming the night sky, countless stars shone brightly over the vast expanse of the prairie. In 2020, I arranged the solo piano edition for my husband, Joseph Francavilla.
Over the course of the pandemic, I made numerous versions of The Solitude of Stars for different combinations of instruments. For information on these versions please check my Mixed Chamber Ensembles and The Solitude of Stars art song pages.