Snow White


for solo piano

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Sample Score Pages
thumbnail of SNOW WHITE website excerpts
5 min.
August 15, 2003
Old First Church, San Francisco
Sarah Cahill, piano
Commissioned for Sarah Cahill by the American Composers Forum, through the Composers Commissioning Program funded by the Jerome Foundation
Snow White is part of an ongoing cycle, called Brothers Grimm, that I have been composing for Sarah Cahill. I have taken from each of these cautionary fairy tales a central frightening image and recast it in musical terms. From Snow White I chose, the Queen, searching endlessly for beauty amid the reflections of the magic mirror. I composed Snow White in the spring of 2003 in Bellagio, Italy, at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Villa Serbelloni, ironically at a piano adjacent to an enormous and imposing mirror.

“…utterly marvelous… the premiere of Harold Meltzer’s ‘Snow White’ from his seven part Brothers Grimm cycle….
“Meltzer’s ‘Snow White’ proved an equally rewarding experience. Contrary to what one might expect from such a title, this turned out to be a serious work. Again short, it made much of the harp-like resonance of the piano, largely through fanciful pedal effects. One ended up hearing the lyrical music in a kind of halo of echoes.
“Well organized in architecture, ‘Snow White’ seems concerned with the mystical tragedy within the tale — music about Snow White’s situation, not the Seven Dwarfs. Most of the Grimm fairy tales are more than a little grim and not infrequently grotesque. Meltzer certainly made one think along those lines. I cannot say that I’ve previously heard anything like this effective piece.”

— Heuwell Tircuit, San Francisco Classical Voice, August 19, 2003
Performance History
  • August 15, 2003: Sarah Cahill, piano, Old First Church, San Francisco, California
  • April 22, 2004: Harold Meltzer, piano, Greenwich School Music House, New York City
  • March 29, 2007: Emily Manzo, piano, Till By Turning, Wesleyan University Memorial Chapel, Middletown, Connecticut
  • March 31, 2007: Emily Manzo, piano, Till By Turning, Friends Seminary Meeting House, New York City
  • July 16, 2011: Joan Forsyth, piano, Warebrook Festival, Irasburg, Vermont
  • November 3, 2012: Stanley Wong, piano, Hong Kong City Hall
  • July 5, 2013: Olga Vinokur, piano, Bargemusic, Brooklyn, New York