Four Songs from The Caucasian Chalk Circle

mezzo-soprano and electronics
commissioned by the Dordt College Theatre Department
premiered in production by the Dordt College Theatre Department, October 2009 in Sioux Center, IA
concert version premiered by Katherine Crawford, December 2009 at La Esquina in Kansas City, MO
Duration: c.14 minutes

(live recording, performed by Katherine Crawford, mezzo-soprano)
Hear another performance by Ms. Crawford HERE.

Program notes:

These four songs are excerpted from music written for a production of Bertolt Brecht’s epic play, The Caucasian Chalk Circle. In the context of the play, they are all sung by the heroine, Grusha Vachnadze, a servant girl working in the governor’s kitchen at the time of a bloody coup. In the confusion, the murdered governor’s infant son is left behind by his horrible mother, who is more interested in which dresses she can save. The child is found and rescued by Grusha, who flees the city, hunted by soldiers who wish the child heir dead. Over the course of her travels and travails, Grusha falls in love with the child, finally claiming him as her own. The Song of the Rotten Bridge, Lullaby, and Song of the Child reflect a progression from her loving and claiming the child, to seeing in him a future of redemption for the sins of his father. In the second song, Song of the Center, Grusha sings of her fiancé Simon, who has been conscripted into the military to fend off the invading armies.The music for The Caucasian Chalk Circle was commissioned by the Dordt College Theatre Department. The texts are from Frank McGuinness’ adaptation of Stefan S. Brecht’s translation of the original play. Where the original play indicated titles (Song of the Rotten Bridge, Song of the Center, and so on), they have been retained in the score.

Texts used by permission.
Music © 2009 by Scott Blasco
Text © 2007 by Stefan S. Brecht

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