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Pig Dreams: Scenes from the life of Sylvia


photo Pig Dreams: Scenes from the Life of Sylvia - soprano, flute & harp (25')
Poetry by Denise Levertov

Premiere: The New School, NYC, 6/96
Commissioned by The Jubal Trio
with funds provided by Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust

goview an excerpt
from the score

Pig Dreams: Scenes from the Life of Sylvia - poetry by Denise Levertov

  1. Her Secret
  2. The Bride
  3. Pigsong
  4. Her Prayer
  5. Her Vision
  6. Winterpig

program note:
Sylvia, a Hampshire pig, came to live with the artist Liebe Coolidge in North Eastern Vermont when she was a very young piglet. A brilliant animal, in the tradition of the Learned Pigs of the 18th and early 19th centuries, she was not only house-trained (a considerable achievement for the porcine physiology) but when she grew up and became a mother, she also house-trained her own piglets just as a cat trains its kittens. Athletic and philosophical, Sylvia was highly peripatetic and loved to take long, brisk cross-country walks with her human and canine friends, as well as to muse and meditate...It was only with old age that Sylvia was obliged to curtail her outdoor expeditions and also (due to regrettably inconvenient dimensions) the amount of time she spent in the human indoor environment which she was so interested in studying and to which her presence added such charm... (Denise Levertov)

"...Sylvia, a Hampshire pig, heroine of Susan Botti's six-part chamber work... an oddly appealing work that uses the trio's instruments to create clever effects including, yes, grunting. The three musicians... dug in with gusto, creating a pig portrait of humor, pathos and even delicacy (the latter, notably on the harp), with the spoiled animal being thoroughly anthropomorphized."
   -- Diana Burgwyn, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"...a curious and often clever composition... These pig poems are by Denise Levertov, and Ms. Botti's setting of them was streaked with unusual accents and colors. To be honest I must admit to a predisposition to all things porcine, and while Sylvia will not oust Miss Piggy from my affections, this was one introduction of the evening I was happy to have made."
   -- John Ardoin, Dallas Morning News

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