In the Forest - (2009)
for baritone and piano
Out of the mid-wood's twilight
Into the meadow's dawn,
Ivory limbed and brown-eyed,
Flashes my Faun!
He skips through the copses singing,
And his shadow dances along,
And I know not which I should follow,
Shadow or song!
O Hunter, snare me his shadow!
O Nightingale, catch me his strain!
Else moonstruck with music and madness
I track him in vain!
[ 3 pages, circa 1' 30" ]
The text comes late in Wilde's complete poetry, slightly before his lengthy late works, The Sphinx and The Ballad of Reading Gaol. The story of Wilde is well documented at this time in history, and his relationships to women (as in his marriage and other family life) as well as his homosexual affair for which he was jailed both touch his work, this text obviously speaking to the later, while Requiescat (which I set earlier this week) speaks to the former. It is the imagery of a chase melded with confusion, the rhythm of the words pushing forward with an urgency which finally confesses to a kind of "music and madness."
The 6/8 meter and tempo urge the text forward over a simple and often single musical line rushing underneath. The harmonic framework on which this accompaniment is based is a single tonic chord including its major seventh of the scale; a notation of blurring with the pedal is suggested.
The score for In the Forest 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.
In the Forest