Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund

Music and Texts of  GARY BACHLUND

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This Perfect World - (1983)   

David Fries

Three songs for high voice and piano

From David Fries' anthology, "This Perfect World," and dedicated to Catherine Fries Vaughn and Dorothy Fries, in his memory.

i.  Memories

A moment in memory
of a boyhood past.
Two wheels roll forward
against the icy cold blast.

Youthfully blessed in freedom he rode,
grappling with torrents whirled through space,
His joy did not intimate 
this rural span was filled with grace.

Nor how years hence, in reminiscence, 
this moment he would mentally duplicate.

I pick moments of air
that will last a lifetime through,
and maybe in future ages, 
I will have their recollections too.

Two wheels roll forward on rural roads.

ii.  Friends

Come, sit by my table,
come, sit by my hearth,
and let our spirits commune.
And when such times ripen,
Oh, what wealth have those two or three friends.

iii.   The Dance

I am weary and my heel is tired.
The road is long and my heel is tired.
Set me dancing upon my toe.
Let me feel the beat of the dance.
The flow.
Test of angels' wings, flow on.

I am barefoot and my heel is tired.
The road is long and my heel is tired.
Test of angels' feet, repeat.
Repeat! Higher! 


Copyright © 1963 by David Fries     Used by permission of his estate.



David Fries


David Fries (1931-1983) was the husband of my second and most significant voice teacher, Dorothy Fries, and father of one of my goddaughters, Catherine. He was a businessman born in Fresno, California, and had in his youth a wonderful tenor voice. Often on small social occasions as the two of them hosted me in their home, David would challenge me to chess, or talk avidly about philosophy, religion and history. He was, said succinctly, a well read, good and decent man. He viewed the world as "filled with grace," and counted his wealth in friendships. A fine lesson worth heeding.


He wrote to his wife, who taught so many of us to sing, these words for Christmas Day of 1980: "Thank you for bringing to our hearts and minds a touch of heavenly music. Thank you making so many hearts sing. Thank you for your laughter. For when you laugh, a thousand clowns dance." David Fries had a way with words and imagery; to his talent I have added melodies of which I am sure he would have approved.


The final song, as an example of this modest cycle, is an expression of exuberant joy in the midst of the world's trials. "I am barefoot, and my heel is tired." As the harmony rises to D, the root tonic of C insists on it being grounded as well as "aloft." The poet asks to be set upon his "toe" as solution to the weariness of the heel, and so the dance is able to whirl on.



The score 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.


This Perfect World