Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund



I Hear the Stars Still Singing - (2011)    

James Weldon Johnson

for baritone and piano


I hear the stars still singing
To the beautiful, silent night,
As they speed with noiseless winging
Their ever westward flight.
I hear the waves still falling
On the stretch of lonely shore,
But the sound of a sweet voice calling
I shall hear, alas! no more.

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 30" ]

James Weldon Johnson


The text is found in Johnson's anthology,  Fifty Years and Other Poems (1917). Imagery of beauty gives way to the touch of loneliness, and yet with the loss beauty seems to remain in the compound imagery of this short poem.



The simple scheme is a pendulum which ends rooting in C, between the opening subdominant major nine chord, and its distant relative of F sharp minor seven sharing the common tone between them, E. An interplay of quiet dynamics makes the "pendulum" a darkly sweet chiaroscuro. The simple AA form ends with an harmonically altered last gesture to resolve into the underlying tonic.



The score for I Hear the Stars Still Singing 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.


I Hear the Stars Still Singing