Lyrics by Shirley Kaplan

William Ferguson, voice; Sequitur [Tara Helen O'Connor, flute; Jo-Ann Sternberg, clarinet; Matthew Gold and Eduardo Leandro, percussion; Sara Laimon, piano; Miranda Cuckson and Andrea Schultz, violin; Daniel Panner, viola; Gregory Hesselink, cello; Jeremy McCoy, double bass]; Paul Hostetter, conductor

World Premiere Performance - Live
September 19, 2011
Merkin Concert Hall
New York City
Head Out

Head out.
It's time.
Pull back from shore.
Ready to sail
bright and early
before
stars are gone.

You've Been On My Mind

Time flies by
and
days disappear.
But my dear friend
you're always near.

You've been on my mind
All the talks
even by phone
All the nights
one sits alone.
Say
remember dancing
the jokes
and the words
Telling each other
the real things said
that move around
in one's dizzy head
Plans for tomorrow
lost loves today
but who knows
we both say
we both say
You've been on my mind

Play Me a Song

Play me a song
Sing me the words
Of places
we've been
and
people we've loved

In a small bottle
I send you notes
thrown
In a blue sea
Where
Rays fly
on slow wings
grey shadows
are cast on
pale sand

I watch
as
It floats
to Italian shores
where you sit
drinking wine
thinking
of a time
when life seemed
so easy
back then

Majorcan sun
Fades
The sand is still warm
Look to the sea
Majorcan sun
Fades
Look

In a small bottle
I send you notes
thrown
In a blue sea

Play me a song
Sing me the words
Of places we've been
and
people we've loved.
(repeat)

Seven O'Clock at the Cedar
(Ode to Kline/de Kooning)


The Cedar Bar is quiet
No talk of paintings
The girls from New Jersey
Are looking for
Somewhere
To feel that life matters
Is that really him
They ask as they
Wonder
Why
He talks of
Space
And knows so much
About Mars
It's seven o'clock
I'm buying the beer
His eyes are bright blue
Make it a whisky
He sways with the thought
Of fragmented women
And images float off the edge
he sings to himself
No talk of paintings
The girls from New Jersey
Look over at him
He smiles as he asks them
Do they know
About stars
then
he thinks
how it feels
This wintry night
To be famous and suddenly old
No talk of painting
The girls look around
And he's gone
To a booth
with a man in a suit
who paints
black and white
they speak only
of baseball/the moon /and the eclipse
the girls from New Jersey go home.

Note: The Cedar Bar was a '60s gathering place in New York City for the Abstract Expressionist painters. The lyrics document an exchange between de Kooning and two young women trying to connect to a famous artist.

Do You Remember?

The old moon's shadow
in the new moon's
             arms.
The dream
Flickers by
and you
hold me
             Do you remember?

I Dance the Tango

I dance the tango
like I always did
I twist my body
the steps are long
I hold my head straight
I still look good
I dance the tango
like I always did
I like the bull fights
I smoke cigars
the hour's coming
for all new things
the joke's on me then

hold me tight
I'm still alive you see

oh glorious thing
the clock is moving
I love to lose control
I love to lose
I love to see
the clock is moving
catch it

             quick

Falling Fast

the piano keys
move into space
artists think of white
between
shooting stars
falling
              falling fast
no thoughts or times
are ever lost
but
are recalled

Melting maps
memories

the piano keys move into space
the artist thinks of white
between
              galaxies
falling
              falling

There are other lights
We cannot see
except perhaps
the one
dim star
that comes and goes
              like us

Wars and lovers
Oceans hold
The edge
Stories, people
Times
Right now
Start to find their place

Melting maps     memories

Slow Wings

Play me a song
Sing me the words
Of places
we've been
and
people we've loved

In a small bottle
I send you notes
thrown
In a blue sea
Where
Rays fly
on slow wings

It's Time to Feel Alright Now

Head out.
It's time.
Pull back from shore.
Ready to sail
bright and early
before
stars are gone.

Start a new way
holding moments
of cities
and past days.
Lovers are loving
and
Birds and beasts
Are seen
dancing
With ease and grace
To music only they hear.

It's time to feel alright now.

Start a new way.
Move quickly.
Here's to the
life
of sailors
and dreamers
who live without fear
far from shore.

The moon stays the same.
Poets are singing
music is playing
Memories are passing.
The map shows new land.

It's time to feel alright now.
Start a new way.

It's time to feel alright now.
It's time
             time

It's time to feel alright now.
Start a new way
                           new way

The Edge

Oceans hold
The edge
Stories, people
Times
Right now
Start to find their place

Shirley Kaplan



In 2007 notes in a bottle are figuratively exchanged between Bogliasco and Majorca where the composer and the lyricist are living. Seven bells guide us: "Head Out". A reminder: "You've Been on My Mind". A request: "Play Me a Song", which is later recalled in "Slow Wings". A story in a bar from 1967: "Seven O'Clock at the Cedar: Ode to Klein/de Kooning", where fame is ordinary and women run after fragments. In "Do You Remember?" the dream flickers under a still moon. "I Dance the Tango" is a toast to life. Stars and galaxies fall against a background of shifting horizons in "Falling Fast". Ships without anchor move with the wind in "It's Time to Feel Alright Now". And, finally, we hold close to "The Edge" where stories, people, and times start to find their place. Sailors & Dreamers is a tribute to the tides and currents that carry us toward the new and the unexpected.

Sailors & Dreamers was commissioned by The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, dedicated to the memory of Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky, and written for Sequitur. The cycle may be performed with either solo piano or with chamber ensemble.

The work is divided into the following sections:

Head Out; You've Been on My Mind
Play Me a Song
Seven O'Clock at the Cedar (Ode to Kline/de Kooning)
Do You Remember?
I Dance the Tango
Falling Fast; Slow Wings
It's Time to Feel Alright Now; The Edge


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