Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
This piece writes itself. I did a sit down improv run through and it’s almost workable as a finished piece. That said I’m going to ignore this run through and build it properly. I think it will be a quick write though.
The crucial thing for me to deal with here is that there is a rather famous piece with this text by Elenor Daley that I’ve come across it a few times. And looking on looking on YouTube I just found out there are a lot more! So I guess the marker isn’t cornered by her version.
But since that is the one I’ve come across I”ll make it my business to make sure I don’t have my piece a copy of her piece. First idea – her piece is in 3/4. When I ever use a text from something I know I have a hard time getting my own text rhythm. Right now I’m working in 4/4 and that seems to do the trick.
I’m OK in terms of having a very different tonal language that’s not a problem, so that is good. This is pretty similar to Be Still in compositional voice, but I figure I”ll just not worry about that. Another thing to do is make this with piano, which will also be good for me because I’m addicted to a cappella. And her piece is a cappella. This will further free me up from copying.
I’m finding that this text doesn’t want to repeat lines, at least not for me. So I’m in danger of writing another very short piece. Using the piano I can fill it out, maybe, but I’m not going to let myself feel pressured into that. I need to write what I hear and not work out of anxiety. That always fails.
I also found that about half way through it seems to work well having a section with no basses. This is good for me because I have a habit of having all voices singing all the times and that makes my pieces risk being two dimensional.
More as things develop. I’m also working FYI on getting a real recording of Be Still. I have a shot at this in a session coming up on April 15th although it’s really packed. Then there is another possibility on June 23.