My Mother in Love

(2015; revised 2018)

Ten songs with lyrics by Anna Weesner

Instrumentation: voice, flute, oboe, violin, cello, two guitars

  1. Reading on the Stairs
  2. Dinnertime
  3. My Sister
  4. Spare Parts
  5. Powers
  6. Lament: Invisible
  7. Laughing
  8. Fierce
  9. Reading Before Sleeping
  10. Okay?

Duration: 25:00


Scene: A young boy sits on the stairs, halfway between upstairs and downstairs.  It’s early evening.  His little brother is attempting to provoke him into playing, but the boy prefers his book (Reading on the Stairs).  From where he sits he can see his mother, who is in the kitchen sitting at the kitchen table.  He wonders why she is not busy making their dinner.  Perplexed by her lack of activity, he begins to feel a sadness and in self-defense calls to mind a memory of her laughing at a time when his father was also there (Dinnertime).  His older sister descends the stairs, dressed for a date.  Normally ready to cast a discerning eye on her daughter’s wardrobe choices, the mother hardly looks up (My Sister).  Finally, then, the mother lifts her head, stares into space, and sings, as if she can see no further than right in front of her (Spare Parts).  Alternation between the boy and his mother follows, the boy fantasizing about superhuman powers (Powers) and the mother wondering what has become of her life (Lament: Invisible).  The mother then succumbs to a bittersweet memory of her love, the source of her heartbreak, from a time when they were together (Laughing).  The boy overhears his mother talking on the phone in the voice she uses with her friend, the woman across the street (Fierce).  Old routines surface at bedtime when the boy pretends to not see his mother, playfully refusing to put his book down (Reading Before Sleeping).  What follows this in the last song is a moment together, the boy asking if things will be okay and the mother finding her answer (Okay?).

Performance history: My Mother in Love was commissioned by Cygnus Ensemble and premiered by them with soprano Charlotte Dobbs in Philadelphia, PA. A revised second performance by Cygnus Ensemble with Tony Arnold took place on April 30, 2018 at Symphony Space in New York, NY.