Old Manuscript - (2011)
medium or high voice and piano
is that beautiful old parchment
in which the sun
and the moon
keep their diary.
To read it all,
one must be a linguist
more learned than Father Wisdom;
and a visionary
more clairvoyant than Mother Dream.
But to feel it,
one must be an apostle:
one who is more than intimate
In having been, always,
the only confidant—
like the earth
or the sea.
pages, circa 2' 30" ]
text is found in Modern American Poetry (1919), Louis
Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977).
imagery of "old parchment" paired with characters as fanciful as Father
Wisdom and Mother Dream suggested a minimally polytonal setting, sweetly
consonant in a dissonant way, colors and gentle rhythmic gestures to
transport one to a land of metaphors and sense memories. Two large gestures
make the whole of the setting. The first is the opening wash of
polytonality, and the second is a slowly changing progression of only four
chords, referring back to the opening gesture. A final play off for the
piano alone brings a setting sun to this "sky."
The score for
Old Manuscript 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.