A Measure of Warmth


Instrumentation: soprano, baritone, and piano

Duration: 7’

Year Composed: 2019

Premiere: October 1, 2019 • Jessica Rivera, Matthew Worth, and Molly Morkoski

Program Note

In late March of 1912, British explorer Rober t Falcon Scott lay in a tent just 11 miles shor t of food and safety and penned his final letter to his wife Kathleen after being the second person ever to reach the South Pole. It would be six months before this letter reached Kathleen in England and in the interim, she too wrote many letters to her husband intended to be read upon his return to the Ross Ice Shelf. Her final letter, written without any knowledge of her husband's death, together with Rober t's final letter form, the basis for the text of A Measure of Warmth. I first encountered their correspondence in Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s first hand account of the Scott Antarctic Expedition, The Worst Journey In the World, which documents Scott’s attempt to be the first ever to reach the South Pole. After Scott lost this race by mere days to Roald Amundsen and then later had to come to terms with his own death, the conflict between Scott’s responsibilities to his family and his fatal and obsessive pursuit of adventure take on a par ticularly poignant light. Both letters are par t of the Scott Polar Research Institute archive in Cambridge, UK and were graciously provided to the composer by the Scott Family.

A Measure of Warmth was created under the aegis of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.