I’ve finished, at long last, ‘The Stain of Love’. It’s a song cycle for baritone and piano that Jason Buckwalter commissioned. The text is early William Carlos Williams poems. It’s a little strange that it took me so long to finish the songs. Three songs just didn’t make the cut into the cycle, and half-written drafts are sitting in my filing cabinet next to the polished score. One of the odd things for me about the piece was limiting my treatment of text to just song form. Usually, I put theatrical elements into everything with words that I write. My last song cycle had an acting pianist, and was covered in theatre. For this piece, at Jason’s suggestion, I had to restrain myself to art song. Trying to squeeze all my ideas into pitches and rhythms doesn’t seem like a difficult thing for a composer, but that’s just how much I love theatre. Jason’s going to premiere the cycle on one of his degree recitals at Peabody this spring.