The second movement of Plath Songs, “Mirror” is a setting of Plath’s brilliant poem about aging. The “speaker” of the poem is the bathroom mirror that dispassionately witnesses a woman’s coming and going, and, at times, “[her] tears and an agitation of hands.” In the second stanza, the bathroom mirror becomes the mirrored surface of a lake, a transformation that allows for the poem’s extraordinary final lines: “Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. / In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman / Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.”
The piece is constructed almost entirely of phrases that coincide with their inverted, “mirrored” partner phrases — in the voices as well as in the accompanying vibraphone and piano.
Commissioned by the Los Angeles Master Chorale
Premiere: June 2, 2013, Grant Gershon, conducting