Upstream - (2012)
baritone and piano
strong men keep coming on.
They go down shot, hanged, sick, broken.
They live on, fighting, singing, lucky as plungers.
The strong men ... they keep coming on.
The strong mothers pulling them from a dark sea, a great prairie, a
Call hallelujah, call amen, call deep thanks.
The strong men keep coming on.
pages, circa 3' 40"
text is found in American Poetry, 1922, A Miscellany. For other
settings to Sandburg's poetry,
text is short, and within the imagery of poetry directly to the point. The
world needs strong men in every generation to struggle against tyranny in
too many forms. Sandburg writes as a praise and devotion with such words as
"hallelujah" and "amen." The long arches from pianissimo to a grand forte
are built entirely over the pedal D, two chords in additive structures
building to high points.
form is a simple ABA, with the center section a contrast as the images of
mothers of such strong men are invoked. Thereafter, the crescendo of thanks
renews itself to a thunderous final chord.
The score for
Upstream 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