Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund



Old - (2010)    

Paul Laurence Dunbar

for medium voice and piano


I have seen peoples come and go
Alike the Ocean's ebb and flow;
I have seen kingdoms rise and fall
Like springtime shadows on a wall.
I have seen houses rendered great
That grew from life's debased estate,
And all, all, all is change I see,
So, dearest God, take me, take me.

[ 2 pages, circa 1' 40" ]

Paul Laurence Dunbar


The text is found in Majors and Minors, 1895, written in the poet's early twenties.



The harmony is built on parallel motion, major 9 chords, which are then augmented with polytonal colorings from time to time. The vocal line forms a large arch for the first four lines of the text, as the accompaniment forms smaller rises and falls beneath.



The setting ends with an elongation of the gestures, and repetition of the text, "take me." The vocal line rises over the last phrases, to emphasize the statement as a positive perspective. Such is the course and end of life, when seen in this natural yet positive perspective.



The score for Old 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.