List of Works || Wine of Peace: Two Songs for Soprano and Orchestra

Wine of Peace: Two Songs for Soprano and Orchestra (1957)

1. Life is a Dream
2. City of Brass

Solo Soprano, Full Orchestra, Flute (2), Piccolo, Oboe (2), English Horn, Clarinet (2), Bass Clarinet (2), Alto Saxophone, Horn (4), Trumpet (3), Trombone (3), Tuba, Timpani, Harp, Percussion, Strings, Violin (s), Viola (s), Cello (s), Bass (es)

Duration: 17 minutes

First Performance: 24 March 1958, Toronto; CBC broadcast, Mary Simmons, CBC Symphony Orchestra, Walter Susskind

Weinzweig considered Wine of Peace one of his most important works. He dedicated the work to the then-young United Nations. This two-movement work unites two disparate texts through a “Spanish” motive and rhythmic gestures. “Life is a Dream” uses a text by seventeenth-century Spanish dramatist Caldéron de la Barce (translation by Arthur Symons); “City of Brass” uses an eleventh-century Arabic poem (translation by E. Powys Mathers).

While Wine of Peace is based on serial technique, tonal associations emerge through tone rows’ intervallic relationships, including thirds and fourths. In addition, the “Spanish” motive provides melodic clarity across both movements. Wine of Peace abounds with text painting, such as a militaristic passage to “the feet of my warhorse” and metrical shifts to depict drunkenness. Weinzweig includes short solos for English horn, violin, and viola. However, the main focus in Wine of Peace is the dialogue between saxophone and soprano.

Written by Alexa Woloshyn