Song in a Minor Key - (2008)
for mezzo soprano and piano
There's a place I know where the birds swing low,
And wayward vines go roaming,
Where the lilacs nod, and a marble god
Is pale, in scented gloaming....
originally published in Life (Oct. 5, 1922)
[ 3 pages, circa 2' 45" ]
This text was included in Enough Rope: Poems by Dorothy Parker (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1926), but first published in the magazine, Life, in 1922. Parker became more sarcastic and perhaps even depressive as regards love and loss as she grew older, but this early poem is in its way sweet, rather romantic and old fashioned in its images, and sad. As Parker clearly titled this "in a Minor Key," I chose to emphasize the harmonic minor, adding the occasional altered seconds created by the raised fourth dropping to the minor third.
The form is a simple two stanza poem, interpreted as a two stanza song. The lower and upper neighbor minor seconds further darken this "Song in a Minor Key."
The ending of the song leaps an octave to express the frustration of knowing the the "true love" will not return.
The score for Song in a Minor Key for mezzo soprano and piano is found in Life Magazine's 1922 issue is 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.
Song in a Minor Key