Death is a Dialogue

Program Notes

Emily Dickinson’s “Death is a Dialogue” conveys an interaction between the “Spirit” and “Death.” Throughout, Death and the Spirit discuss the ending occurrences of life; Death argues that one’s existence will simply dissolve away, while the Spirit reveals a hopeful life after passing. These intertwining elements of relief and hope against manipulation and argument are evident with the various vocal colors and registral placement distinctions for each character. Throughout the piece, the Spirit performs lyrical, forward, and open phrases, while Death performs with broken, backwards, and sonically muffled tones.


Death is a Dialogue between
The Spirit and the Dust.
“Dissolve” says Death — The Spirit “Sir
I have another Trust” —

Death doubts it — Argues from the Ground —
The Spirit turns away

Just laying off for evidence
An Overcoat of Clay.

Brian De Stefano – Bass Voice February 12, 2024 – Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater