Contralto Songs

Dozens of songs have been written for Elizabeth Anker, and the composers are delighted to share them with you!

Violists! Contralti!  Add to your repertoire–put something from this century on your programs.  All in English, all on American poets and by American composers, on themes of nature, life and even some about love…

Below is a list of folks who have written 21st Century art songs for Liz and the Mockingbird Trio, with short descriptions of their pieces.  Have a listen and contact the composers yourselves.  Let’s make these wonderful songs part of every discerning contralto’s repertoire.

Composers who have written for the Mockingbird Trio:

  • Peter Aldins Flowers of Sophia. Contralto, viola and piano; text of Denise Levertov; some improvisation invited.(Listen here)
  • Elinor Armer Eine Kleine Snailmusik. Contralto, viola and piano, text of May Sarton; very funny piece with a lot of acting/hamming for the pianist. (Listen here)
  • Paul Brust …that passeth all understanding. Contralto and piano, text of Denise Levertov; voice begins a cappella and piano joins at end.  Quiet and reflective. (Listen here)
  • Sanford Dole July 1968. Contralto and piano, text of Denise Levertov; large chords and a strong closer to a set. (Listen here)
  • Tom Fettke  The Road Not Taken. Contralto and piano, text of Robert Frost. Straightforward and gorgeous. (Listen here)
  • Howard Frazin A Wren.  Contralto and viola, text of Denise Levertov.  A quiet and enchanting song.  Howard also wrote a lullaby for this combination. (Listen here)
  • Douglas Johnson Poet Power!  Contralto voice alone, text of Denise Levertov.  A “scena” in which the singer acts out a magical taxicab ride.  Douglas has written several pieces for Elizabeth, using texts in English and Spanish, including a song cycle with texts of May Sarton and Emily Dickinson, and chamber music for various combinations. (Listen here)
  • Dana Maiben The Green House. Contralto with chamber ensemble, text of Martha Collins.  This is not part of the original concert but is a winner, adding bassoon and flute to the trio.
  • John McDonald The Mockingbird of Mockingbirds.  Contralto, viola and piano, text of Denise Levertov.  John has written several song cycles for the trio (he is the pianist), some for voice and viola alone.  Many are about birds and other features of the natural world. (Listen here)
  • Rebecca Sacks A Dance.  Contralto, viola and piano, text of Wendell Berry.  Written after the trio was well established, this former student of John McDonald wrote us a lovely piece in 2009.
  • Eric Sawyer Variations on a Theme by Rilke.  Contralto, viola and piano, text of Denise Levertov.  Ends with the line:  “I can” on a high F, making it a great closer. Eric added two more songs to make a beautiful set, and has written other works for Liz. (Listen here)
  • Francine Trester Nobody Sees a Flower.  Contralto and piano, text of Georgia O’Keeffe. Fran has written many songs and song cycles for the trio, on texts of her own, and a 2-person opera, 334 Bunnies.  She can be very funny, accessible and also beautifully poignant. (Listen here)
  • Mark Winges In Summer.  Contralto, viola and piano, text of Denise Levertov. Mark added to this very brief song to make a cycle of five songs.  Mark has written another piece for Liz with chamber ensemble. (Listen here)