If They Delight (2015/2017)

Soprano/Mezzo & Piano

Text by Gertrude Stein, "Stanza XV" from Stanzas in Meditation

Total duration ca. 6'

Three movement work

1. Brightly "Should they may be..."

2. Spacious "In one direction there is sun..."

3. Playfully "Now only think three times roses green and blue..."

Premiered in April 2018

in Baltimore, MD by Katie Procell and Valerie Hsu

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $10

Listen to a recording of this work from 4/12/18 on Soundcloud

Watch a performance of this work from 8/2/19 on YouTube

The Stanzas in Meditation, a long multi-part poem, contains some of Stein’s clearest and most beautiful combinations of words in her hermetic style. This musical work sets Stanza XV from Part 2 of the Stanzas in Meditation, a text that dwells on “they,” on others, their delight, their contemplation, the way that they look and speak. The text is lovingly observational, and, like music, gestures at emotion through sound, symbol, and color, leaving the exact meaning to the listener alone. This piece was begun in advance of composing my opera on Gertrude Stein’s first love affair, MAY SHE | SHE MAY, musical moments of which appear in the opera.


Text by Gertrude Stein, Stanza XV from Stanzas in Meditation and Other Poems (Los Angeles: Sun and Moon Press, 1994). Reprinted with the permission of Mr. Stanford Gann Jr., Levin & Gann, P.A., Literary Executor of the Estate of Gertrude Stein. All Rights Reserved.