Sir I Exist - (2008)
for medium voice and piano
A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."
[ 1 page, circa 1' 05" ]
The text comes from Crane's War Is King and Other Lines (1899). Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was an American author, perhaps best known for The Red Badge of Courage. His innovative work is praised as as early examples of what is now termed American Naturalism, characterized by intensity as well as its use of dialect and vivid imagery, as he published much -- novels, short stories, poems, non-fiction articles, dispatches and letters, the collection from which this poem is drawn published a year before his death.
The setting is a single page -- a succession of parallel major-minor chords, dropping by half step, over which a declamatory vocal line plays the two parts in the conversation between the individual and the universe.
The score for Sir I Exist 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.
Sir I Exist