Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund



Old Men - (2010)    

William Butler Yeats

for medium voice and piano


I heard the old, old men say,
"Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away."
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn trees
By the waters.
I heard the old, old men say,
"All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters."

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 55" ]


William Butler Yeats


The text is originally titled, "The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water," and was published in Pall Mall Magazine, January 1903.



The setting walks slowly, except for the rush of chromatic gestures drawing a line distant from its beginning. Subdominant major and minor alternate, as gentle rhythms and four-note chords accompany the voice.




The score 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.


Old Men