Livid Loneliness of Fear

Livid Loneliness of Fear

by Ingrid Stölzel


Program Notes: “Livid Loneliness of Fear” for Mezzo Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Percussion was commissioned as part of their series entitled “The American Aviatrix.” I chose to celebrate the famous American aviation pioneer and Kansas native, Amelia Earhart. When I first learned that in addition to being a record-breaking aviator and outspoken advocate for women’s rights, she was also an avid lover and writer of poetry, it was clear that my composition celebrating her pioneering legacy would have to include her words. Her poem “Courage,” which was published the year of her first transatlantic flight in 1928, is extraordinary and I was immediately drawn to her vivid imagery and powerful poetic voice. My setting is guided by this imagery as well as the strong formal aspects of the poem. In addition, during my research into Amelia Earhart I found it endearing that her family and friends always called her by her initials, so I thought it fitting to prominently incorporate these pitches in structurally important moments.

Courage - Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)

Courage is the price that Life exacts

for granting peace.

The soul that knows it not

Knows no release

from little things:

Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,

Nor mountain heights where bitter joy

can hear

The sound of wings.

How can life grant us boon of living,


For gray dull ugliness and pregnant hate

Unless we dare

The soul's dominion? Each time we

make a choice, we pay

With courage to behold the resistless day,

And count it fair.

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