Earl Kim: “thither” from Now and Then

Written by Kate Soper


In category: Song of the Day

Published January 28, 2019

The underrated Earl Kim’s setting of Samuel Beckett’s “thither” occurs twice in Now and Then, Kim’s 1981 song cycle for soprano, flute, viola, and harp.   At just over 30 seconds, “thither” the song is a haunting shiver, a ghost aria, unforgettable even without the reprise.  Beckett’s snatches of text, Kim’s spiky yet delicately mournful music, and Karol Bennet’s vulnerable, seeking performance have stuck with me since I first heard this recording in 1999, proving that you can pack a punch in a tiny package.

Earl Kim, “thither” from Now and Then for soprano, flute, viola, and harp.

author: Kate Soper

select author’s name to read all of their posts

Kate Soper is a composer, performer, and writer whose work explores the integration of drama and rhetoric into musical structure, the slippery continuums of expressivity, intelligibility and sense, and the wonderfully treacherous landscape of the human voice.  She has been hailed by the Boston Globe as “a composer of trenchant, sometimes discomfiting, power” and praised by the New Yorker for her “limpid, exacting vocalism, impetuous theatricality, and mastery of modernist style.”  Her large-scale works include the song cycle/monodrama Voices from the Killing Jar, the opera with original libretto Here Be Sirens, and the chamber music theatre piece IPSA DIXIT, which was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize. Upcoming projects include Missing Scenes for soprano and chamber orchestra and a new opera with original libretto, The Romance of the Rose.  Since 2006, Kate has been a co-director and vocalist for Wet Ink, a New York-based new music ensemble.

Hear Kate perform excerpts from The Romance of the Rose in NYFOS Next: Kate Soper & Friends on March 28 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *