Why Fades a Dream? -
Paul Laurence Dunbar
medium voice and piano
fades a dream?
An iridescent ray
Flecked in between the tryst
Of night and day.
Why fades a dream?--
Of consciousness the shade
Wrought out by lack of light and made
Upon life's stream.
Why fades a dream?
That thought may thrive,
So fades the fleshless dream;
Lest men should learn to trust
The things that seem.
So fades a dream,
That living thought may grow
And like a waxing star-beam glow
Upon life's stream--
So fades a dream.
pages, circa 2' 55" ]
text is drawn from Lyrics of Lowly Life, 1896. In the two sides to
Dunbar's art, this is among the standard English poems which to my mind rank
him among the great Americans men of letters. While his humor can run
rampant, his serious side can speak with an eloquence in which spirit speaks
through text. Other settings of Dunbar's poetry may be seen via
in the Authors Alphabetical Index of this site.
setting uses the dominant triad as a pedal between chord changes in the
lower voices, piling triads into diatonic seven and nine chords as its
harmonic vocabulary. The choice of the 4/2 meter is intended to visualize a
long-lined, lyrical interpretation of the setting.
dynamics are in shades of mezzo piano and less, as the setting fades away in
parallel with the spirit and meaning of the text.
The score for
Why Fades a Dream 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
Why Fades a Dream?