The Things Our Fathers Loved - (2008)
for medium voice and piano
I think there must be a place in the soul
all made of tunes, of tunes of long ago;
I hear the organ on the Main Street corner,
Aunt Sarah humming Gospels; Summer evenings,
The village cornet band, playing in the square.
The town's Red, White and Blue,
all Red, White and Blue; Now! Hear the words
But they sing in my soul of the things our Fathers loved.
[ 3 pages, circa 3' 00" ]
Ives set his own poetry as well as that of his wife, Harmony Twitchell. This sweet poem evokes memories of "long ago." For the musician, memories include our musical memories, of performances and melodies whose names or composers we might well have forgotten all the while the melody lingers on. Like two small sets of texts which Ives set, I chose this free verse poem for its evocative colors.
With a limited range, this song setting is apt for almost any voice type, its accompaniment meant to be played with a gentle rubato and expressive quality. The accompaniment is a simple series of descending triads building into diatonic sonorities for each descent. A short quote from "Amazing Grace" indicates "Aunt Sarah humming Gospels," and a second strophe acting as a bridge in this song form descends by chromatic half-steps to imagine that "village cornet band" perhaps playing inexpertly though sincerely.
The score for The Things Our Fathers Loved 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 Things Our Fathers Loved