Quarrel - (2016)    

Elinor Wylie

for soprano and piano


Let us quarrel for these reasons:
You detest the salt which seasons
My speech . . . and all my lights go out
In the cold poison of your doubt.
I love Shelley . . . you love Keats
Something parts and something meets.
I love salads . . . you love chops;
Something goes and something stops.
Something hides its face and cries;
Something shivers; something dies.
I love blue ribbons brought from fairs;
You love sitting splitting hairs.
I love truth, and so do you . . .
Tell me, is it truly true?

4 pages, circa 2' 00"

Elinor Wylie


The last line of Wylie's text is clever in pointing different directions. One way leads to the question of truth from seemingly opposing views about truth, while the other asks a different question. Given the present tense of the verbs throughout, the question is : are we "parting," though something seems still to "meet?"




  The 3/4 meter, seemingly strong on down beats begins the first strophe on the second beat for both voice and piano. The accompaniment continues this while the text is declaimed. The accompaniment turns rhapsodic thereafter as if in the heat of the moment. The large form is a two-part verse form, and the last statement as coda asks one moment of hesitation before finishing aggressively.




The score for Quarrel is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.