Friday, November 9, 2012

e.e. cummings in music | Help New Amsterdam Records Rebuild

in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems - e. e. cummings

"e.e. cummings was a paradoxical poet who combined playfulness with seriousness; close attention to rhythm and rhyme with wild experimentation in grammar, spelling, and punctuation; and complicated ideas and images with simple words. His poetry's vividness and quirkiness have attracted many composers, who usually provide his poems with delicate, subtle settings to showcase their typically whimsical tones." - AllMusic

Inspired by Tin Hat's gorgeous new album on New Amsterdam: the rain is a handsome animal (17 songs from the poetry of e. e. cummings), I compiled this playlist, which includes cummings songs by Aron Copland, Morton Feldman, Pierre Boulez, Eric Whitacre, Luciano Berio, and over a dozen more composers. Also featured are pop music based on cummings's text, from Joan Baez, Ra Ra Riot and others. At the end there's three tracks of cummings reading his poetry from three albums.

Get this collection in one Spotify playlist: e.e. cummings in music (121 tracks, total time: 6 hours).Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. Some song text can be found here.


The New York based New Amsterdam Records is a central force in creating the "indie classical" scene since 2008, and so far has released dozens of compelling (both sonically and visually) albums that otherwise might never be heard. Unfortunately its headquarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. If you would like to donate to their recovery effort (I did), please visit this official page. Thank you.