Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund



Not All There - (2008)     

Robert Frost

for medium voice and piano


I turned to speak to God
About the world’s despair;
But to make bad matters worse
I found God wasn’t there.

God turned to speak to me
(Don’t anybody laugh)
God found I wasn’t there –
At least not over half.

[ 2 pages, circa 1' 50" ]

Robert Frost


These two stanzas paint opposing views of man, although they speak of God as well. When man cannot or refuses to "find" God, the world's despair is made worse in Frost's estimation by not having that God to which to speak. But in truth neither believer nor non-believer may disprove God; in their actions all they both may do is evidence whether that which is seen to be of God is proven by their lives. As Darwin witnessed to his "Creator," such witness might in fact magnify man by magnifying God. Certainly to deny God as seen through the lenses of the various world religions diminishes man's own value in a value-laden world.



These two poetic stanzas are mirrored in two strophes in this setting. Rooted on F though not notated with that key signature, the tonality leans away from the tonic through the sometimes occurring raised fourth of the scale employed in five note chords, and the emphasis on the lowered seventh melodically.



The score for Not All There 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.


Not All There