Good morning, Life

 

 

Good morning, Life - (2009)    

William Henry Davies

for medium voice and piano


 

Good morning, Life -- and all
Things glad and beautiful.
My pockets nothing hold,
But he that owns the gold,
The Sun, is my great friend --
His spending has no end.

Hail to the morning sky,
Which bright clouds measure high;
Hail to you birds whose throats
Would number leaves by notes;
Hail to you shady bowers,
And you green fields of flowers.

Hail to you women fair,
That make a show so rare
In cloth as white as milk --
Be't calico or silk:
Good morning, Life -- and all
Things glad and beautiful.

[ 4 pages, circa 1' 50" ]


W. H. Davies in a 1915 engraving by Rothenstein

 

On a bright and sunny spring day in Berlin, the notion came for this text, a setting to be constructed out of gestural limitations. When thinking towards a piece, often there is a pre-compositional element of some kind, and this one was specifically the notion of constructing a work from a few musical gestures or shapes, allowing for some alterations. Just as in another song setting in I chose the limitation of a four not "set," in this the gestures were quite specific and dissimilar. The images which Davies offer in a fine text, so overflowing with enthusiasm as it is, called for an up tempo and bright-toned setting. The text was published in Foliage (1913).

 

 

The gestures are the opening syncopated introduction, then the accompaniment figure as at measure three, followed by the downward scales as at measure eight. These gestures change scalar position for additional variety and are extended by various means, but generally the entire accompaniment is fashioned from their whole cloth.

 

 

The last stanza slips one half step higher for emphasis and excitement. The final restatement of the opening line of text ends the setting, to the accompaniment of its opening gesture in the accompaniment.

 

 

The score for Good morning, Life 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.

 

Good morning, Life