composer’s note: In December 2004, my opera Iphigenia at Aulis received its premiere as part of the University Opera season at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I had spent over a year writing the music, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience to work so hard and then get to see an amazing production brought to life by some of my amazingly talented colleagues and friends. But after writing an opera, my brain was calling out for a smaller project that didn’t require keeping so many ideas floating around at once.
It was to appease that part of my brain that I wrote “Return and Return Again,” a straightforward song that aims to be simply beautiful. When I found this lovely poem by James Laughlin, I thought it seemed perfect to adapt into a little song that I could write quickly and without too much fuss. But I soon ended up being inexorably drawn to a musical expression of the song that just couldn’t be held back into a 2 or 3 minute miniature. So here it is, the not-so-small result of my simplification project.