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(Editions of Frank Wallace's complete works as well as his recordings are available at or


For baritone and soprano with 10-course lute

Duration: 7:30

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Available in keyboard notation or tablature, this elegy with lyrics by Nancy Knowles, was written shortly after the tragic death of our former partner John Fleagle, beloved singer/instrumentalist of the Boston early music scene. It is a reflection on the play of light and dark, shine and shadow, and contains a favorite tune of John’s by Guillaume de Machaut: Comment q’ua moy.


Six songs for baritone and lute

Duration: 13:00

Sample score

This collection of songs (including the Fantasy #1 for solo lute which can be played as a prelude) celebrates the poetry and lives of unknown poets [including myself]. I am always attracted to the words of people I know perhaps more so than the eloquence of the "greats." This poetry was written by various LiveOak voice workshop participants over the course of one weekend. The "assignment" was to write a short poem without "thinking." See what is around and in front of you without judgment, without filters. The results were unexpected and spectacular.



Nine songs for soprano and lute, poems by Theodore Roethke

Composed for Nancy Knowles

Duration: 21:00

Sample score

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The moment

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 As a songwriter I am blessed by having not only a soprano, but also a poet, as my partner. Nancy Knowles has long been the creative force behind Duo LiveOak's programming for concerts. She now helps shape my song cycles, from the choosing and sequencing of texts, to writing new poems conceived for a specific work. For Woman of the Water, Nancy put together a moving group of poems by the late American poet Theodore Roethke. The poems are from The Far Field, Roethke’s last book of poems, published in 1964, one year after his death. In the context of our settings, the poems trace the passions of a woman [or soul] who lives by the sea, from her awakening young body and the beginnings of love, through longing and frustration to union and joy in her later years. In his lifetime Roethke was honored with many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize; in spite of recurring bouts of depression, he produced an inspiring body of work. It is interesting to imagine Woman of the Water as an allegory of his own soul’s journey. The lute was chosen as a more graceful, feminine accompaniment to this delicate tale. The lute part is flavored by an SATB orientation, which creates simple but rich chords, yet has impressionistic flourishes and instrumental fantasy. Throughout, a repetition of motives and chord progressions unify the work.



world premiere August 5, 2005

International Guitar Festival, Arequipa Peru, by Duo LiveOak

Spanish poem by Mexican artist Jaime Goded

for soprano, tenor and lute

duration: 5 minutes

Sample score

We met Jaime Goded through his art in San Miguel in the summer of 2001 while there on vacation. Jaime has a beautiful studio on the plaza where we met his wife, Evelyn, and gave her a CD in admiration of Jaime's work. The next day she returned with this poem, hand-written, as a gift to us. I wrote the song four years later for the Arequipa Guitar Festival, where Duo LiveOak debuted it.


Frank has also composed instrumental music for the lute, for example "After Sylvius" for 10-course lute, and "Una Luz Santa", a duo for two equal lutes (10-course and 8-course) based on a Sephardic theme.

Frank Wallace composer, lutenist, guitarist, baritone.

Fanfare magazine describes Frank Wallace as a composer who writes with a “high standard of musical interest” and who performs with “flawless technical proficiency”. His works showcase the lute or classical guitar in solo, duo, trio, and quartet, as well as in chamber works with voices, flute and cello. Wallace graduated from San Francisco Conservatory and joined the faculty at the New England Conservatory in 1976. He left that post in the early 1980’s to dedicate himself to performance of music of the 12th -16th centuries.  He now performs contemporary song with mezzo-soprano Nancy Knowles as Duo LiveOak. Wallace is a twice-honored recipient of the NH Council on the Arts Artist Fellowship Award, in 2001 and in 2006 for the Duo LiveOak CD, Woman of the Water. "The breadth of his musical activity recalls an earlier age, when a complete musician engaged in a broad range of creative activities as a matter of course...Wallace's music is exciting, unpredictable, and fresh...” Rings, American Record Guide, 2001