2016-17 – song cycle for voice and piano – 60:00
Music by Frank Horvat
Words by Frank Horvat & Lisa Horvat
- Gaze 10:10
- Lust 10:24
- Bliss 10:10
- Fight 10:10
- End 09:58
- Void 10:01
Love in 6 Stages is a song cycle that takes you through the journey of an ill-fated romantic relationship using the simple musical pairing of a solo voice and piano. I composed the 6 songs when the opportunity came about to make an album with my good friend, Jean Martin, and the wonderfully talented vocalist, Laura Swankey. Each song in this collection is 10 minutes in length. While my melodic writing has a pop sensibility to it, the elongated structure of each song is definitely firmly rooted in a classical and ambient aesthetic. I co-wrote the lyrics with my life partner and soulmate, Lisa. That in itself was an interesting experience since the storyline of our protagonist has no roots whatsoever in the story of our own personal relationship. But we have many people in our lives that we care about deeply who have had their heart broken because of lost love. This collection is dedicated to them.
Song 1 – Gaze
Gaze is sort of the overture for the song cycle. I wanted the innocent and melancholy nature of our protagonist to be in full view. But it was also important for the song to foreshadow some of the explosive moments to come in the upcoming songs.
Song 2 – Lust
As the name suggests, Lust is a play-by-play of our protagonist’s experience of love-making. I wanted the piano, words and general tone to evoke the numbing sensation and exhilaration. But I didn’t want it to be done in a graphic way.
Song 3 – Bliss
In this song, our protagonist is firmly rooted in a comfortable and loving relationship. In other words, they’re happy. I chose to make the song a waltz as a traditional waltz always conveys elegance and an understated joy. I also wanted it to be quite contrasting metre-wise compared to the other Love in 6 Stages songs. I’ll be honest and say that it’s not my favourite song in the cycle. But, parts of it have grown on me and those who have listened to it have told me they find it sweet, so I guess that’s good enough for me :)!
Song 4 – Fight
Since this song signals the beginning of the end for our protagonist’s romantic relationship, I wanted this song to be explosive. Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship can attest to how emotionally painful, frustrating and draining arguments with a lover can be. Many of the vocal sections in this song attempt to recreate verbatim often what would be said in such altercations – irrational as it might sound. I wanted the piano to support the explosive nature of this vicious argument. A lot of rock riffs came to inspire the driving rhythmic nature of the piano.
Song 5 – End
While the End of romantic relationship can be painful, I was inspired to make this piece contemplative and melancholic at most, not necessarily full of agony.
Song 6 – Void
Void is barren both vocally and pianistically. Up until this song, Love in 6 Stages was pulsating and defined with its beat. I wanted the last song to be the complete opposite rhythmically to capture the despair our protagonist feels.