I. As She Looked Around
II. Death Goes Before Me
- bass-baritone, oboe, viola & cello
- OR: bass-baritone, clarinet, violin & cello
- published by Skitter Music Publications
Three Songs for the Day of the Dead were commissioned by the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (Houston, TX) for their annual concert to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The first two songs, As She Looked Around (2012) and Death Goes Before Me (2013), were written for bass-baritone Timothy Jones, and the last song, Exultation (2011), was written for soprano Karol Bennett and arranged for bass-baritone for this cycle.
TEXTS – Three Songs for the Day of the Dead
I. As She Looked Around (1847) – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
an excerpt from Part II, section 5 of “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie”
And, with light in her looks, she entered the chambers of sickness.
Many a languid head, upraised as Evangeline entered,
To gaze while she passed, for her presence
Fell on their hearts like a ray of the sun on the walls of a prison.
And, as she looked around, she saw how Death, the consoler,
Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever.
II. Death Goes before Me (1920) – Yvor Winters (1900-1968)
Death goes before me on his hands and knees,
And we go down among the bending trees.
Weeping I go, and no man gives me ease
I am that strange thing that each strange eye sees;
Eyes of the silence, and all life an eye,
Turn in the wind; and always I walk by.
Too still I go, and all things go from me
As down far autumn beaches a man runs to the sea.
My hands are cold, my lips are thin and dumb.
Stillness is like the beating of a drum.
III. Exultation (1860) – Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses, past the headlands,
Into deep eternity!
Bred as we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand
The devine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?