The New Colossus (text: Emma Lazarus) for voice and piano; 5’(2017)
composer's note: At the moment I'm writing this note, it is 2019, and the current American president, along with his administration, is enacting and enforcing a great deal of inhumane & cruel treatment of immigrants. When my ancestors came to America fleeing anti-Jewish violence in Eastern Europe, New York Harbor welcomed them with open arms. Families were not separated and detained indefinitely, nobody was put in cages or camps. They were treated with compassion and given a chance, because the human thing to do is to show kindness to fellow humans in need. There was no "legal," just immigrants looking for a safe harbor, and a nation that I'm proud to say gave it to them.
I set this poem, perhaps America's most famous poem, because I felt it still has so much to say about what kind of nation the USA should be, rather than the one it sadly is in 2019. My setting is something like a recitative & aria in its form: It begins with a fanfare-like section, full of bluster, about "the brazen giants of Greek fame" and so on... but when the text arrives at "give me your tired, your poor..." the music shifts gears, becoming an understated, compassionate musical setting that seeks to comfort and connect with people. The United States of America showed empathy when my ancestors arrived here, and this song seeks to embody that empathy, and memorialize it while hoping it returns someday soon.
The score for my setting of "The New Colossus" as engraved on the Statue of Liberty, for voice and piano, is yours for free in PDF format if you send me an email requesting it. I have it in three different keys, and just want to get it out there, for performance or home enjoyment or any other use you'd like.