Bruised Azaleas (1998)
Song cycle for baritone, clarinet/bass clarinet & piano
Bruised Azaleas is a setting of five poems from poet Bruce Weigl’s Song of Napalm. The collection from which these five were selected consists almost exclusively of autobiographical reflections of the poet’s experiences serving in the Vietnam War. The songs try to capture the varied imagery of the text beginning with the agitated, manic Breakdown and the fantasy of Amnesia. These are followed by the almost pastoral description of walking through a jungle in Mines (the second stanza of a longer poem) and a sardonic interpretation of a march for the poet’s Elegy. The set finishes up with a sensual poem, LZ Nowhere, lonely with a touch of lyrical jazz.