World premiere of version
Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY
Gwendolyn Killebrew / Juilliard Orchestra / Michael Tilson Thomas
Copland chose eight from his song cycle of twelve poems by this unique American poet to transcribe for voice and small orchestra. He hoped the arrangement would give the songs a wider hearing. Dickinson's writing had a particular appeal to the composer. "Her poetry, written in isolation, was folklike, with irregular meters and stanzas and many unconventional devices," wrote Copland. The orchestrated version was premiered for a concert in honor of his seventieth birthday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
-Vivian Perlis, 1998