New Composition: “White Lilies" for Alto VocaliSt and Orchestra [Forthcoming]

January 8, 2024

( Image Credit: "La Vague" by Gustave Courbet )

White Lilies” is a new work for vocalist and orchestra by composer Mary Bichner. The piece is a brand new musical setting of the 17th-century Scottish poem “James Harris/The Daemon Lover”, which tells the story of a married woman who is visited by her long lost love, whom she thought had died at sea.

The lyrics to the work are a composite of the eight versions of the poem found in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child [1825-1896], with a few lyrical variations and re-wordings added in by the composer, to preserve the newly-created melody line and structure (as well as to change to storyline just slightly, to make it a bit more operatic :)).

Singularly, Mary has composed “White Lilies” largely — but not entirely — in the Locrian mode, a dissonant modal scale rarely used in Western music due to its instability. The Locrian mode’s mysterious and unsettling energy lends itself perfectly to the historical poem’s haunting tale.

A piano-and-vocal version of “White Lilies” was completed in November and December of 2023, with an orchestral version currently in progress. A live premiere of the piano-and-vocal version is anticipated for Summer/Autumn 2024 (more info TBA), with a recording and live premiere of the orchestral version to follow in the future.

For more info on "White Lilies" and/or to request a demo recording of the piano-and-vocal version, please contact the composer at:

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