Death - (2012)
Paul Laurence Dunbar
medium voice and piano
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.
pages, circa 4' 00"
text is found in Dunbar's collection, Lyrics of Love and Laughter
(1903). For other settings of Dunbar's poetry,
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.