A set of three torch songs for singer and ensemble with lyrics by the composer.


I. The Dog Days of Desire, II. Sing the Saddest Song, III. Superhero Wannabe

Duration: 15'

Year of completion: 2005

Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn, trombone, drum set, keyboard, singer, 2 violins, viola, cello, electric bass 

Commissioned by the “Dogs of Desire” of the Albany Symphony 

Excerpt from 'Dog Days of Desire'

Excerpt from 'Sing the Saddest Song'

Excerpt from 'Superhero Wannabe'

Composer's Note:

Part of the excitement of writing Exile Tunes was the challenge of writing my own lyrics — something that I hadn’t done since my early college days.  The process that I rediscovered was one of developing lyric ideas from vocal improvisation. Generally speaking, the three songs that comprise Exile Tunes — ‘Dog Days of Desire,’ ‘Sing the Saddest Song,’ and ‘Superhero Wannabe’ — came out of experiences related to a recent relocation to Germany. 

The ‘Dog Days’ depicts a listless summer malaise — what should be pleasant and rewarding turns out to be boring. The idea came while improvising on the name of the group, “Dogs of Desire,” and reflections on attempted conversations in German that were monotonous failures because of my weaknesses in the language at the time.   

“Sing the Saddest Song” concerns the difficulties of making meaningful connections to others. The singer pines about singing a sad, beautiful tune about love, but she is unsure if the song will touch anyone.

‘Superhero Wannabe’ relates a tale rife with friction between a person’s self-aggrandized identity and the perceptions of others.  It tells the story of a man, middle-aged, deluded, who thinks he’s a superhero crime fighter. However, the reality is that his story is a delusion.  People laugh at him when they see him in a mask and spandex. 

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