Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


The Red Wheelbarrow - (2008)    

William Carlos Williams

for medium voice and piano


so much depends upon

a red wheel barrow

glazed with rain water

beside the white chickens.

[ 1 page, circa 1' 20" ]

William Carlos Williams


The Imagist notion of “no ideas but in things” is often cited as a moving criteria for this poem, but it has its roots in a long history of short poems from haiku forward; as a sometimes curmudgeonly individualist, I hesitate to accept the academic explanations for an artist's work based on my own perspective of creativity, on the one hand, and on the explanation of gathering of individuals into various theories with the suffix "ism" attached, on the other. Let us take the poet for his work and call this poem and his entire oeuvre "Williams-ist" and be done with that. Text source:



The short setting demands simplicity from the performers. The vocal line is specifically marked semplice, and there is no intent to suggest either rubati or ritardandi, but rather it is recommended to play it simply to its final cadence, sweetly and without artifice.




The score for The Red Wheelbarrow 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 Red Wheelbarrow