The Fly - (2015)
for medium voice and piano
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance,
And drink, & sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
If thought is life,
And strength & breath,
And the want
Of thought is death;
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live
or if I die.
pages, circa 2' 30"
Detail from Blake's engraving
often-set text was published in Blake's Songs of Experience (1789),
with multiple instances of the engraving in color to be seen in exhibits and
museums. The child with shuttlecock plays while an adult tends to another
toddling child, as a visual decoration for this poem. For other settings of
setting is set as a vocal line adherent to the grammar and syntax, with an
accompaniment written for the upper half of the piano (or other similar
instrument) of crossing lines scales and wide leaps. Rubato as felt is
William Blake (1757-1827) was poet, artist, mystic, engraver and publisher.
His simple statement in rhyme and pictorial art stands in historical
contrast to such later complex philosophies, also involving the fly.
To bottle things up, fly to see:
I never met a philosophy
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.