Death

 

 

Death - (2012)    

Paul Laurence Dunbar

for medium voice and piano


 

Storm and strife and stress,
Lost in a wilderness,
Groping to find a way,
Forth to the haunts of day.

Sudden a vista peeps,
Out of the tangled deeps,
Only a point – the ray
But at the end is day.

Dark is the dawn and chill,
Daylight is on the hill,
Night is the flitting breath,
Day rides the hills of death.

3 pages, circa 4' 00"


Paul Laurence Dunbar

 

The text is found in Dunbar's collection, Lyrics of Love and Laughter (1903). For other settings of Dunbar's poetry, click here.

 

 

The three strophes are set as a meditation, quiet, lyric and very sustained. The harmonic scheme is quasi-polytonal, though a tonal center informs throughout. C major yields to C sharp minor and thence to its subdominant as distant from C. This is the harmonic vocabulary for the setting throughout, gentle stress placed on some seconds within the scale.

 

 

The score for Death 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.

 

Death