Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


The Minuet - (2011)    

Mary Mapes Dodge

for mezzo soprano and piano


Grandma told me all about it,
Told me so I couldn't doubt it,
How she danced, my grandma danced; long ago
How she held her pretty head,
How her dainty skirt she spread,
How she slowly leaned and rose -- long ago.

Grandma's hair was bright and sunny,
Dimpled cheeks, too, oh, how funny!
Really quite a pretty girl -- long ago.
Bless her! why, she wears a cap,
Grandma does, and takes a nap
Every single day; and yet
Grandma danced the minuet -- long ago.

"Modern ways are quite alarming,"
Grandma says, "but boys were charming"
(Girls and boys she means, of course) "long ago."
Brave but modest, grandly shy;
She would like to have us try
Just to feel like those who met
In the graceful minuet -- long ago.

5 pages, circa 4' 30"

Mary Mapes Dodge


Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905) was children's author and editor, known for her novel Hans Brinker. Widowed by desertion and subsequent suicide of her attorney husband, she raised two sons by writing and editing, working to publish two magazines, the Working Farmer and the United States Journal. After success with short stories, The Irvington Stories, she wrote Hans Brinker, which became a bestseller. After serving as associate editor of Hearth and Home, edited by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dodge became an editor of the successful children's St. Nicholas Magazine, soliciting stories from writers like Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, and Robert Louis Stevenson.



The three strophes define the general form, each strophe broken into a section marked "easily" followed by a simple dance rhythm to accompany the storytelling.



The third strophe is followed with an extended interlude, as the minuet is reprised by solo piano. A short coda begins the nostalgic memory again, recalling that "grandma told me all about it."




The score for The Minuet 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.


The Minuet