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In Time Gone By; a song cycle for Baritone and six players (2020)

SKU: G013201-2

 

Full Score and Parts: $50       Study Score: $25

Part Scores only: $30

Instrumentation: Flute, Clarinet in Bb (doubles on Bass Clarinet), Piano, Percussion (see sample score for full list), Baritone Vocalist, Violin, Cello

Duration: 31:30

Text: James Joyce and John Donne

|  Story  |  Listen  |  See the Score  |  Text  |

About the Piece

A Thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Music. Premiered by Patrick McNally (Baritone) and the Trace Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Rebecca Nederhiser on February 12th, 2021 at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. 

The Story

In Time Gone By is a song cycle for Baritone vocalist and Pierrot Ensemble + percussion that explores the value of life being a byproduct of its finitude. Only during the most vulnerable and difficult events of that life can self-realization occur. These topics are wrapped into a “love- story” narrative crafted from select poems from Chamber Music by James Joyce and select quotes from the prose Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne. Using intervallic focus as a tool for development, the piece transitions from sparse quintal harmony to lush tertian harmony as a musical metaphor for the self-realization of the main character through the events of this narrative. Motivic fragments tie the six movements together into a single story and represent external and internal influences on the main character and his relationship with his love interest.

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Text:

English

Poems by James Joyce and John Donne

 

I. For Love Wanders There

 

Strings in the earth and air

Make music sweet;

Strings by the river where

The willows meet.

There’s music along the river

For Love wanders there,

Pale flowers on his mantle,

Dark leaves on his hair.

All softly playing,

With head to music bent,

And fingers straying

Upon an instrument.

 

The twilight turns from amethyst

To deep and deeper blue,

The lamp fills with a pale green glow

The trees of the avenue.

The old piano plays an air,

Sedate and slow and gay;

She bends upon the yellow keys,

Her head inclines this way.

Shy thought and grave wide eyes and hands

That wander as they list—

The twilight turns to darker blue

With lights of amethyst.

II. Arise!

From dewy dreams, my soul, arise,

From love’s deep slumber and from death,

For lo! the trees are full of sighs

Whose leaves the morn admonisheth.

Eastward and gradual dawn prevails

Where softly-burning fires appear,

Making to tremble all those veils

Of grey and golden gossamer.

While sweetly, gently, secretly,

The flowery bells of morn are stirred

And the wise choirs of faery

Begin (innumerous!) to be heard.

 

My dove, my beautiful one,

Arise, arise!

The night-dew lies

Upon my lips and eyes.

The odorous winds are weaving

A music of sighs:

Arise, arise,

My dove, my beautiful one!

I wait by the cedar tree,

My sister, my love, 

White breast of the dove,

My breast shall be your bed.

The pale dew lies

Like a veil on my head.

My fair one, my fair dove,

Arise, arise!

III. A Sickness Unsuspected

Variable, and therefore miserable condition

of Man; this minute I was well, and am ill, this

minute…But in a minute a Canon batters all,

overthrows all, demolishes all; a Sicknes unprevented

for all our diligence, unsuspected for all our curiositie;

nay, undeserved, if we consider only disorder, summons

us, seizes us, possesses us, destroyes us in an instant.

Death is in an olde mans more, he appeares, and tels

him so, and death is at a young mans backe, and saies

nothing; Age is a sicknesse, and Youth is an ambush…

 

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IV. We Are Grave Lovers

 

Love came to us in time gone by

When one at twilight shyly played

And one in fear was standing nigh—

For Love at first is all afraid.

We are grave lovers. Love is past

That had his sweet hours many a one;

Welcome to us now at last

The ways that we shall go upon.

V. I Hear an Army Charging

As Sicknes is the greatest misery, so the greatest misery of sicknes is solitude; when the infectiousnes of the disease deterrs them who should assist, from comming; even the Phisician dares scarse come. A sicke bed, is a grave; and all that the patient saies there, is but a varying of his owne Epitaph.

 

All day I hear the noise of waters

Making moan,

Sad as the sea-bird is, when going

Forth alone,

He hears the winds cry to the water’s

Monotone.

The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing

Where I go.

I hear the noise of many waters

Far below.

All day, all night, I hear them flowing

To and fro.

 

I hear an army charging upon the land,

And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:

Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,

Disdaining the reigns, with fluttering whips, the charioteers.

They cry unto the night their battle-name:

I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.

Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?

VI. Strings in the Earth and Air

As then wee need sleepe to live out our threescore and ten yeeres, so we need death, to live that life which we cannot out live. 

    Man hath no center but misery; there and onely there, he is fixt, and sure to finde himselfe.

    

Gentle lady, do not sing

Sad songs about the end of love;

Lay aside sadness and sing

How love that passes is enough.

Sing about the long deep sleep

Of lovers that are dead, and how

In the grave all love shall sleep:

Love is aweary now.

 

Strings in the earth and air

Make music sweet;

Strings by the river where

The willows meet.

There’s music along the river

For Love wanders there,

Pale flowers on his mantle,

Dark leaves on his hair.

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