All That's Past - (1986)
Walter de la Mare
for medium voice and piano
to the memory of Larry Stayer
[ 1 ]
are the woods;
And the buds that break
Out of the brier's boughs,
When March winds wake,
So old with their beauty are--
Oh, no man knows
Through what wild centuries
Roves back the rose.
Very old are the
And the rills that rise
Where snow sleeps cold beneath
Sing such a history
Of come and gone,
Their every drop
is as wise
Very old are we men;
Our dreams are
Told in dim Eden
By Eve's nightingales;
We wake and whisper
But, the day gone by,
Silence and sleep like fields
[ 2 ]
from The Listeners and Other Poems 
[ 4 pages, circa 3' 00" ]
Walter de la Mare
"Walter de la Mare questioned everything, including - or rather above all -
the things that everyone round him had become quite sure about. But he
rarely or never stayed for an answer. He just went on writing with an
unfettered mind unfettered poetry." This is a key to one aspect of the
creative act, wherein dwelling too long and indulging in too deep or harsh a
self-criticism is absent for reason of more facilely continuing the
creativity itself, leaving the criticism to others who in dwelling on this
other human pursuit near no closer to understanding the act of creativity
when all is said and done.
Other poems of de la Mare are set in the song anthology,
Pieces of Peacock Pie, and a short cycle for mezzo soprano
Three Poems of Walter de la Mare, which include "Alas, Alack!," " The
Song of the Shadows" and "Silver." On that page as well, one may read more
about this wondrous poet.
gentle polytonal setting is sometimes lightly rhapsodic, and the
polytonality hints at both the major and minor thirds of as a common tone
between juxtaposed tonal regions, such as in measure four where the B-flat
might function both as a major third within the F-sharp minor chord, but
also as an upper neighbor to A in the following measure's tonality.
Throughout, expressive rubati are recommended to performers.
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial
performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement
with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.
All That's Past
[ 1 ] Lawrence F. Stayer (1941-1990) was the
executive director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A
native of Olean, N.Y., Larry studied voice at the Eastman School of Music in
Rochester. In 1967 he became an assistant manager of the Metropolitan Opera
Studio, an adjunct that trains young singers. Five years later he became an
artistic administrator for the company, working on casting and scheduling.
In 1980, Mr. Stayer helped form the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist
Development Program and was named its administrator shortly afterward. He
succeeded the soprano Rise Stevens in 1988 as the executive director of the
National Council Auditions. I met Larry at an audition at the Met in 1986,
wherein he invited me to participate in the Young Artists Program, covering
many lead roles and singing smaller parts for several years. When I chose to
take some work in Europe rather than return to smaller roles at the Met,
was "officially" angry with me and yet, sweetly, privately encouraging, as were
tenor Timothy Jenkins, and bass baritone Sir Donald MacIntyre. A smoker,
NY Times obituary documents death due to cancer aggravated by pneumonia.
After his passing, I changed the score's dedication to him to read "in
memory of" him.
[ 2 ] The amaranths (also known quite commonly as
pigweed) is of the genus Amaranthus, a genus of short-lived herb found in
temperate regions and climates. Its blossoms range from purple and red to
gold, as there are about sixty Amaranthus species. Several are grown as leaf
vegetables and for cereal grain, as well as ornamental plants. Amaranth
grain is of some importance in the Himalayas, and was one of the staples of
the Incas, known as kiwicha in the modern Andes. Used by the Aztecs,
who called it huautli, and other Amerindian peoples in the Americas,
it was used to make ritual drinks and foods.