Death Stands Above Me

 

 

Death Stands Above Me - (2010)    

Walter Savage Landor

for baritone and piano


 

Death stands above me, whispering low
I know not what into my ear:
Of his strange language all I know
Is, there is not a word of fear.

[ 2 pages, circa 1' 30" ]


Walter Savage Landor

 

Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) was an English writer and  poet, best known for his prose work, Imaginary Conversations, and the poem, "Rose Aylmer."

 

 

These sweet few lines bespeak my credo, as it has become ever more simplified away into a simple trust in the many powers greater than myself. For this, in the last few days I was rereading Campbell's Myths to Live By, New York, Bantam, 1972. Absorbed as he was in eastern myths as more informative than the Judeo-Christian tradition and Western myths, and noticing how sweetly partisan this academic celebrity for some traditions as against others. I prefer a stance which allows others their beliefs, according to the old fashioned "live and let live" mentality. I resonate with Landor that there is "no fear."

 

The open-spaced, diatonic triads move gently through a long meter's notation, as the vocal line sings a simple Dorian melody at first.

 

 

 

The end of the text moves from Dorian to its rest in the tonic major, followed by a reprise of the accompaniment gestures now extended into a short interlude. The vocal line ends with the third of the tonic as a reflection of the affirmative stance of the text.

 

 

 

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.

 

Death Stands Above Me