Shine Perishing Republic is perhaps the most anthologized of all the works by American poet Robinson Jeffers (1887–1962). Its Whitmanesque tone and rhetoric are here reflected in a sonata-like first movement form. Influenced by the paintings of Jackson Pollock, the composer wished to saturate his musical canvas with explosive, emotive events.
Evening Ebb is a nature scene. Musical metaphors – symmetrical chords, inversion structures and canons – are used to to suggest the qualities of sea and reflected sky described so beautifully in the poem. Paradoxically, in spite of these musical conceits, the music floats impressionistically, for the most part in stasis, only developing in a clear direction towards the end.
Music example, Shine Perishing republic (pdf)
Music example, Evening Ebb (pdf)