Ballad in Yellow is a transcription of a song I wrote to a Garcia Lorca poem. The pianist-composer Robert Helps, upon hearing the premiere of the song, said to me, "I wish, David, that that song was a piano solo. I'd love to play it" The moment he said this, I realized that a piano arrangement would require little alteration: I simply removed the vocal line and added a more pianistic ending. Needless to say, the piece is dedicated to Robert Helps, who played the premiere.
Next to it, on the other hand, was "Ballad in Yellow," often sounding as if written by a Schumann who had lived few years longer than 1856, picked up some new harmonies along the way and had — to quote Count Basie's comment on bebop — "put mink coats on the chords."
The second half featured Mr. Del Tredici's unabashedly rhapsodic "Ballad in Yellow".
Ballad in Yellow is beguilingly romantic. Wildwood Etude is moody and brooding. Del Tredici deftly reworks themes from Virgil Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts in Opposites Attract.
"Ballad in Yellow" is beguilingly romantic.