Dawn

 

 

Dawn - (2009)    

Paul Laurence Dunbar

for medium voice and piano


 

An angel, robed in spotless white,
Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.

[ 1 page, circa 1' 40" ]


Paul Laurence Dunbar

 

While reading Roger Bourland's blog entries about song writers being "miniaturists," I thought about the long and short of the argument. (See Three Songs for Roger.) A song need not be miniature as some of my longer settings prove out at least to my satisfaction, but this text suggested such a "miniature." It was completed in just twenty minutes this afternoon, the 19th of January.

 

The text is drawn from the excellent Wright State University Libraries' Paul Laurence Dunbar Digital Collection, www.libraries.wright.edu/special/dunbar/. Dunbar worked in both standard English and dialect, this being a fine example of his craftsmanship and skill in a small yet exquisite form. A visit to this site along with comments on my other settings of Dunbar's poetry is suggested.

 

 

This short, sweet text suggested a setting in which the long phrase of the introduction is simply the accompaniment to the verse itself, with a simple extension for the final cadence. Hardly a song form, it is more like the single verse of a hymn.

 

 

 

The score for Dawn 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.

 

Dawn