A Golden Day


A Golden Day - (2009)    

Paul Laurence Dunbar

for medium voice and piano


I found you and I lost you,
All on a gleaming day.
The day was filled with sunshine,
And the land was full of May.

A golden bird was singing
Its melody divine,
I found you and I loved you,
And all the world was mine.

I found you and I lost you,
All on a golden day,
But when I dream of you, dear,
It is always brimming May.

[ 3 pages, circa 1' 25" ]

Paul Laurence Dunbar


This little three stanza poem seems quite classic in form and style, yet perhaps beneath the surface lie dissonant colors of gaiety and aggression beside one another. The beautiful "gleaming" and "golden" day in May, "filled with sunshine" and the "divine" song of the bird accompany loss and frustration. For this there is a harder edge to the message of this particular memory, not a simple philosophic looking back.



The setting speaks with a bright opening voice, the tonic major seven with a lingering repeated minor second beginning a lengthy piano prelude before the vocal line begins. The voice line trips back and forth between triple and duple gestures for its expression of melancholic gaiety.




The repetition of the last thought emphasizes the "dream" which comes as the accompaniment moves down and then again high up by diatonic degrees through seven chords, as the voice descends to its lowest range for the last expression of disappointment, even in the lingering memory.




The score for A Golden Day 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.


A Golden Day