By Lewis Spratlan | For TTBB Chorus, and Piano, Four-Hands | 9′

Title: Travels
Composer: Lewis Spratlan
Text by: On poetry by Mary Jo Salter and Brad Leithauser
Year Composed: 2011
Instrumentation: For TTBB Chorus, and Piano, Four-Hands
Duration: 9′

Format: Choral Score (full sized vocal staves with reduced piano staves).
Page Size: Letter
Catalog Number: OM0420

Format: Piano Score (full sized piano staves with reduced vocal staves).
Page Size: Letter
Catalog Number: OM0420P

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From the composer:

Travels was composed in 2011 for the Rutgers University Glee Cub, Patrick Gardner, conductor.  There were two personal connections here: my son Daniel Spratlan was at the time a doctoral candidate at Rutgers working with Dr. Gardner in choral conducting and I had developed a close collegial association with the poets Brad Leithauser and Mary Jo Salter.

I was taken by a number of their poems as wonderful possible song texts and made the decision to link three of them that relate to travels in some fashion. Salter’s Kangaroo seemed the best curtain-raiser and there was something about the bouncing of kangaroos that led me to another important decision, that is, to accompany the songs by piano, four-hands.  This resource proved to be of great value to the remaining songs as well, providing palindromic possibilities for the young Otto in song two and moisture for a cloudburst and subsequent rainbow in song three.

The itinerary begins bouncing in 6/8 time for I. Australia: Kangaroo; then a delightful play on musical and textual palindromes arrives in the evocative second movement, II. New Jersey: Halted Train in the Rain. The journey ends with III. Paris: A Rainbow over the Seine, where a musical rainbow swells in choir and piano. Then– “the dazzle of this monumental prism, cut by drizzle, is that it vanishes.”


Like flustered actors
who don’t know what to do
with their hands, they’re hanging
around in awkward clusters,
paws dangling, ears pricked for a cue.


It’s too perfect: can the small boy on the train
really be an OTTO (as finger-painted
on the steamed-up window), a name


Noiseless at first, a spray
of mist in the face, a nosegay
of moisture never
destined to be a downpour.

Commission/Dedication: Commissioned by The Rutgers University Glee Club, Patrick Gardner, conductor.
Premiere: First performed March 31, 2012 at Mount Holyoke College, by the Rutgers University Glee Club, Daniel Spratlan, conductor.

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