Love Letters from a War (2009)
Medium: male voice and piano
Length: ~26 min
Love Letters from a War is an eleven-song cycle originally for tenor and piano composed in early 2009. With the exception of the text for “Troop-Train,” which was an entry from his diary, the texts for each song are taken from letters that the composer’s grandfather, Kenneth R. Chapin, wrote to her grandmother between 1942 and 1945. The greeting in “Hi-Ya Toad” may seem a bit unusual (most men asking a girl out on a date do not, as a general rule, address her as ‘Toad’). ‘Toad’ was the nickname that he gave her after an incident in which she, while visiting his younger sister, put a toad in his bed hoping to attract his notice. While perhaps a bit unconventional as a romantic ideal, there are eight children, sixteen grandchildren and an ever increasing number of great-grandchildren who are very grateful to that toad. While in basic training and later as a bomber pilot in Europe, he wrote numerous letters home to his young wife filled with beautiful sentiments and insightful descriptions of his surroundings. The daughter born in the seventh song is the composer’s mother. This cycle lasts approximately 25 minutes.
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