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A Day of Sunshine

Classical/Choral music • 2016 • Lyricist: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A Day of Sunshine

20.00 USD

PDF, 458.0 Kb ID: SM-000248437 Upload date: 19 May 2016
Mixed choir
Scored for
Type of score
Vocal score
J.Jay Berthume

While searching for poems to set to music, Longfellow’s exuberant “A Day of Sunshine” immediately leapt out at me for its emotional ineffability, mellifluous language, and iridescent contrasts of imagery in each verse. I felt that every stanza, though semantically congruent with the others, presented different opportunities for contrasting choral textures; an opportunity to display all of the wondrous faculties God bestowed upon the inimitable human voice. I have only made one change to the original poem: a repetition of the fourth verse, which I believe to be the essence of the entire poem’s philosophy, “Not to be doing, but to be!” I suggest that this poem, beyond merely existing as a beautiful string of sensuous words, is poignant in meaning in today’s day and age more than ever. So many of us lose sight of the real purpose of life: to exist, and revel in each other’s existence - not to bury our souls in the “doings” of things, and thus deprive ourselves and our loved ones of the ephemeral beauty of family, friendship, and revelry of our friend Earth who surrounds us all in benevolent splendor.

Every word should be as clearly pronounced as possible (even at the risk of losing legato), so that the poem communicates lucidly to even the most inattentive listener. Each tenuto marking is an indication of a brief, slight slowing of tempo - enough to give weight to a particular word, but not so much that the pulse of the music is slowed or becomes ambiguous. Due to the constant changing of textures and their meticulous and intended conception, it is imperative that all dynamic markings are followed as closely as possible, so as to ensure that the ebb and flow of the macro structural arch of the piece remains intact and effective.
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