Art Song

If songs really need words (as indeed they mostly do, since the human voice without them is just another wind instrument) then there has to be in the marriage of words and music a basic compatibility in which the text’s exact shape and purpose dominate the union, or seem to. I say seem to, because actually a large part of music’s contribution lies in the emotional timings, the urgencies about continuity, the whole pacing and moving-forwardness of the composition that only music can provide.

Virgil Thomson


A selection of art songs by Frederick Frahm are featured on this page. Click on a thumbnail to see the first page of the score. Published works are indicated by title links. For program notes and additional vocal works, please contact the composer.

Advent

[soprano & organ]
text by Kate Walsh

Silver glist’ning,
inverted world,
Grace reflected in a raindrop.

After Love

[soprano & piano]
text by Sara Teasdale

There is no magic anymore
we meet as other people do,
you work no miracle for me,
nor I for you.

Assisi Fragments

[tenor & piano]
text by Geoffrey Hill

Lion and lioness, the mild
inflammable beasts
At their precise peril kept
distance and repose.

A Christmas Carol

[soprano & organ]
text by G. K. Chesterton

The Christ-Child lay on Mary’s lap,
his hair was like a light,
O weary, weary, were the world,
but here is all a-right.

Little Elegy

[tenor & piano]
text by Elinor Wylie

Without you
No rose can grow
No leaf be green
If never seen your sweet face.

Pastorale

[baritone & piano]
text by Hart Crane

No more violets,
and the year broken into smoky panels…

A Psalm of Lady Pembroke

[soprano & piano]
text by Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke

O Lord, in me there lieth not
But to thy search revealed lies…
(Psalm 139)

Shroud Song

[soprano & piano]
text by Adelaide Crapsey

I make my shroud, but no one knows
So shimmering fine it is,
and fair.

Siege

[tenor & piano]
text by Edna St. Vincent Millay

This I do, being mad;
gather baubles about me,
sit in a circle of toys,
and all the time
death pounding the door in.

Spirits and Illusions

[tenor & piano]
text by Robinson Jeffers

Spirits and illusions have died
the naked mind lives
in the beauty of inanimate things.

Voice in the Staircase

[tenor & piano]
text by Witter Bynner

Voices in the staircase
in the floor
in the furniture…

The Wind and the Sea

[tenor & piano]
text by Archibald MacLeish

Man, like any creature
dies where two days meet:
dead, by time is eaten.