The title Nor Spell Nor Charm is a quotation from the text of a song I wrote in March 1989 for my dear friend and colleague, Jan DeGaetani, the great American mezzo-soprano. She was failing of leukemia at that time and never had a chance to perform it. When I began to write the present work, not only was she on my mind but also the music of the little song, which I felt was very strong and special. The new work is an extension and elaboration of that song and is dedicated to the memory of Jan DeGaetani. The text is from William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream:
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen;
Newts, and blind worms, do no wrong;
Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby,
lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Nor spell, nor charm
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.
Nor Spell Nor Charm was commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Jacob Druckman, 1990
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer