The Masque of the Red Death
A Concert Drama
for Soprano, Clarinet, Violin, and Piano
In my first concert drama I chose to set Edgar Allan Poe's, The Masque of the Red Death, in its entirety. I felt that despite the density of the text that it would lend itself well to a dramatico-musical treatment. This work is subtitled "a concert drama" because I felt it needed clarification that in spite of being a purely concert work that it contains a complete narrative structure. From that standpoint it is neither opera nor oratorio but rather something altogether different. The soprano is truly the focal point of this piece while the trio of instruments primarily serve as the narrative fabric helping to create and heighten the emotional tone of the text. A large cluster chord across all instruments recurs throughout the piece in order to signify the "chiming of the clock". Once the Red Death wreaks havoc on the guests of Prince Prospero's party I chose to set the remaining text as a simple lullaby sung by the narrator. The soprano does not represent any particular character in the story but rather an outside party simply passing on a tale against the hubris of man.