Hope won't survive


Hope won't survive - (2008)    

Julie Dalton-Williamson

for medium voice and piano


Honey is the food of bees but not a food of mine;
Their poison sting is for my feast's accompanying wine.

Winters come and rivers freeze because they know my ache
and can no longer flow along or river movements make.

Hope won't survive the worst disease,
And like rivers, in my bones will freeze.

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 00" ]

Julie Dalton-Williamson


My friend, Julie Dalton-Williamson who battles multiple sclerosis, sent me this text as her dark musing on a text of Pepler, The Law the Lawyers Know About. The lines which Julie reworked read: Why honey is the food of bees,  / Why horses have such tender knees, /  Why winters come and rivers freeze, /  Why faith is more than what one sees, / And hope survives the worst disease,  / And charity is more than these...." Her couplets speak to hope, which Pepler says, "survives" as not surviving. The truth of life is that both statements are valid from our humanity-burdened perspective. Oddly this view, as Julie has expressed, also mirrors the setting of Stephen Crane's Sir I Exist, in which the universe has no "sense of obligation" to that existence. To the great questions and conundrums of life the answer is....


Julie penned a set of verses about her cats which I previously set, entitled Four Little Cat Songs, which includes a fifth song about a dog... It is for her also, that I dedicated my settings of some of the texts, From the Song of Songs. It is a joy to call her friend and fellow artist.



The basic A minor tonality regularly emphasized the raised sixth and seventh, without reference to the descending minor natural scale tones. A brittle accompaniment generally in two voices and three quarter time hints at dissonant harmonies lurking behind the simple framework. The form is strophic, with three verses.



The last verse lightly embellishes the top line of the accompaniment, placed an octave higher and therefore above the vocal line. The pyramid of clustered tones which ends the previous two verses becomes the final hammered statement of dissonance as the vocal line insists further on A minor.




The score for Hope won't survive 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.


Hope won't survive