Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

Poetry by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
for SATB a cappella (2015)

Choral Score

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by Dennis Tobenski


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Illinois State University Choirs
Directed by Dr. Karyl Carlson


c. 3 min 30 sec


11-13 December 2015
60th Annual Illinois State University Madrigal Dinners
Prairie Room, Bone Student Center
Illinois State University, Normal, IL
ISU Madrigal Singers
Dr. Karyl Carlson, director


Written for the 60th Annual Madrigal at Illinois State University.




Alfred, Lord Tennyson : Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

Program Notes

I was introduced to this poem through Ned Rorem’s beautiful setting of it in his Four Poems of Tennyson, which I had the pleasure of singing for the first time in 2003. Now, a dozen years later, I’ve returned to the text not as a singer, but as a composer. It’s always a challenge to work with a text that I strongly identify with another composer’s music – to create a new setting that is unburdened by the rhythms and harmonic language that so strongly color my perception of the text. My decision to set the poem for choir rather than voice and piano greatly helped. I’m not ashamed to say: anyone familiar with Ned’s song will hear hints of his setting in mine – my homage to the composer who has had such a huge impact on the ways that I write and think about music.

–Dennis Tobenski