Photo: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
The University of Louisville has awarded this year's Grawemeyer Award in composition to Peter Lieberson, for his orchestral song cycle Neruda Songs. It is impossible to think of a more suitable candidate. Neruda Songs is music of high craft and deep emotion; it is destined to live a very long time. The award would have been absolutely deserved under any circumstances, but in light of everything that the composer has endured in the last year and a half — the death of his beloved wife, Lorraine, the grief that followed, and then treatment for lymphoma — it must be especially gratifying. I wrote about Neruda Songs at the end of my memorial to Lorraine. Not long ago I received an e-mail from Lieberson, with whom I once studied. I am happy to report that he sounds in good spirits and is composing again.