Silver Filigree


Silver Filigree - (2012)    

Elinor Wylie

for medium voice and piano


The icicles wreathing
    On trees in festoon
Swing, swayed to our breathing:
    They're made of the moon.

She's a pale, waxen taper;
    And these seem to drip
Transparent as paper
    From the flame of her tip.

Molten, smoking a little,
    Into crystal they pass;
Falling, freezing, to brittle
    And delicate glass.

Each a sharp-pointed flower,
    Each a brief stalactite
Which hangs for an hour
    In the blue cave of night.

2 pages, circa 2' 30"

Elinor Wylie


This fine crisp and frozen day in Berlin, there are icicles on our terrace, and the bare trees in the park are sometimes "wreathed" and "festooned" as Wylie spins the image. The sharp-pointed flowers snowflake on the city over these last days as winter takes us in hand. The text is from Wylie's 1921 collections, Nets to Catch the Wind.



The quiet dissonance of the three chords as seen throughout the setting become consonant as the vocal line steps through their flatted coloration to sing in a steadfast Phrygian awaiting the final cadence for its true resolution. This is something akin to minimalist in approach and yet color-filled and lyrical, as the vocal line's consistent triple feeling bends not to the underlying duple meter and overall rhythms.



The score for Silver Filigree 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.


Silver Filigree