October - (2005)   

Robert Frost

for high, medium or low voice and piano


O hushed October morning mild, 
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; 
To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild, 
Should waste them all. 
The crows above the forest call; 
To-morrow they may form and go. 
O hushed October morning mild, 
Begin the hours of this day slow, 
Make the day seem to us less brief. 
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know; 
Release one leaf at break of day; 
At noon release another leaf; 
One from our trees, one far away; 
Retard the sun with gentle mist; 
Enchant the land with amethyst. 
Slow, slow! 
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all, 
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost, 
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall. 

from A Boy’s Will, 1915

[ 4 pages, circa 4' 00" ]

Robert Frost


This simple setting's vocal part seems fussily detailed, but the notation is meant to convey an inexact rhythmic relationship to a structured accompaniment. The accompaniment is intended to be blurred in a gray sostenuto, and the tempo must convey Frost's detailing "the hours of this day slow." The vocal part should be quite legato, and not over pronounced.




As Frost tells us of "clustered fruit [which] must else be lost," the accompaniment shows visually the clusters as a reminder of Frost's imagery, though this may not quite be conveyed in performance.




Composed in an October, the mood of this song should be sought in one's reminiscences and shaded with one's sense of longing that the "day seem to us less brief."


The score to October 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. The violin part is attached at the end of the file, as a separate score. Click on the graphic below for a piano-vocal score.