"Crane Songs" by Samuel Pellman

Crane Songs

for soprano, flute, Bb clarinet, violin, percussion, and piano

duration - 11' 15"

Crane Songs

I. There were many...
II. Many workmen... 39 second audio clip: ( mp3 File, 640K)
III. I saw a man... 9 second audio clip: ( mp3 File, 160K)
or 13 second audio clip: ( WAV File,1.1M) or ( mp3 File, 224K)
IV. When a people reach... 19 second audio clip: ( mp3 File, 320K)
or 60 second audio clip: ( mp3 File, 960K)


Crane Songs was commissioned by the Syracuse Society for New Music for its 1983-84 season and sets four poems by Stephen Crane. The texts of the first three songs were found in The Black Riders and Other Lines (Crane's first book of poetry, published in 1895). The text of the fourth song appeared separately.

These musical settings are shaped to a large degree by the ebb and flow of tonal and atonal pitch relationships. When tonal relationships prevail, the preferred centers are the pitches "C" and "Gb" (or "F#"), occasionally acting simultaneously.

The third song is characterized by rapid pentatonic figures similar to those employed in my Intermezzo for two flutes. The apparent musical quotations in the interlude between the second and third stanzas of the fourth song are actually brief parodies, inspired perhaps by Charles Ives, of popular styles from the end of the nineteenth century, such as the march, Protestant hymnody, and ragtime

This work is dedicated to Neva Pilgrim and the Syracuse Society for New Music.

Click here for a free download of the sheet music.

The fourth song may be omitted from performance (leaving the total duration at 6' 15"). If so, then the preferred order of songs is: I, III, and II.
Biographical information about the composer can be found here.
Crane Songs has been recorded by Neva Pilgrim and the Syracuse Society for New Music on Redwood Records (ES-24).
This recording has recently been re-released on innova 616, a 5 CD set produced by the Society for New Music.
The audio clips on this page have been taken from this recording and feature:
  • John Oberbrunner, flute
  • Barbara Rabin, clarinet
  • Sonya Monosoff, violin
  • Laurance Luttinger, percussion
  • Brian Israel, piano
  • Neva Pilgrim, soprano
  • Steven Stucky, conductor

Crane Songs is published by the Continental Music Press.
copyright 1983 Samuel Pellman. All Rights Reserved.
To obtain performance materials or for further information, contact: .