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Film scores

The Cloisters (1965)
Four songs to texts by William M. Hoffman

Fort Tryon Park: September
Song to the Witch of the Cloisters
Christmas at the Cloisters
The Unicorn

For voice and piano


First performed November 15, 1965 by Judith Keller, mezzo-soprano; Richard Woitach, piano at Town Hall, New York.


- "Fort Tryon Park: September"
Listen to a sound clip

- "Song to the Witch of the Cloisters"
Listen to a sound clip

- "Christmas at the Cloisters"
Listen to a sound clip

- "The Unicorn"
Listen to a sound clip

rent score and parts from score and parts from G. Schirmer Inc

order vocal scores for the individual songs from www.musicdispatch.com Fort Tryon Park: September, Song to the Witch of the Cloisters, Christmas at the Cloisters for chorus and piano or voice and piano, and The Unicorn


Scored for voice and piano

Duration 13 minutes



Complete song cycle: Henry Herford, baritone, and
Robin Bowman, piano
New World Records 80327-2 (1997)
Fort Tryon Park: Lauren Wagner, soprano, and
Fred Weldy, piano
Channel Classics CCS 5293 (1993)
Song to the Witch of the Cloisters: Robert White, tenor,
and Samuel Sanders, piano
Hyperion CDA66920 (1997)
Christmas at the Cloisters: The Emily Lowe Singers Northeastern NR 241-CD (1991)


Program note

The Cloisters is one of John Corigliano’s earlier works, dating from 1965. After his friend the poet and playwright William M. Hoffman wrote The Unicorn, Corigliano suggested that several more poems, unified by the motif of the Cloisters, a museum of medieval art at the northern end of Manhattan, might provide wonderful material for a song cycle. The resulting group of four poems touches on romantic moods and picturesque images associated in Hoffman’s mind with the Cloisters. The third song, “Christmas at the Cloisters”, is dedicated to gospel singer Marion Williams. The cycle also exists in a version with orchestral accompaniment.

— Walter Simmons

© 2021 John Corigliano | Designed by Wlad Marhulets | Artwork photos by Richard Howe