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Rara Avis

“Rara Avis” is a four-part vocal setting of a poem by Elline Lipkin for chorus (two sections each of altos and baritones) with piano accompaniment. The poem “Rara Avis” appears in the author’s The Errant Thread, recently published by Kore Press:

This vocal performance is by David Solomons of the DWS Chorale.

— Elline Lipkin at Kore Press

“I was struck by the playfulness of Elline’s words and by the visual images conjured up by the word groupings. I found many of the words mysterious and fascinating. Somehow there was a strong sensory image through each of the verses.

The brief hints between verses about the crafting of the work gave me clues as to where the dance would lead. My surprise at the end was to find that this poem was about my own fallibilities and dreams, ‘hoping one would drop, then surge into star.’ It was about the wonder of creation, of calling forth the muses, of drawing art from the glyph.”

My relationship with this lovely poet began when I served as a teacher in a program where young children with many abilities were encouraged to find their passions.

At the tender age of nine or ten, Elline’s emerged in the form of poetry. In truth, her first book of poetry was lovingly handcrafted in the classroom. I remember gasping at the sweetness of her words and hand-drawn illustrations, running my fingers over the pages of a delicately created hand-sewn and bound volume, never dreaming that crafting words would become the child’s life-work.

How honored I was to learn that I would have The Errant Thread, Elline’s first published volume, dedicated to me. I could not help but choose ‘Rara Avis’ to set in a musical framework.”

Sheila Firestone