“ Pears from the boughs hung golden, The streets lay still and cool, Children with books and satchels Came sauntering home from school;”So begins Evening, an art song by Maryland composer John Duke. Yours truly is always reminded of it around this time of year, no matter the location. Next is the most introspective portion of the poem by Frederic Prokosch ~
“The dusk fled softly inward Across each darkening sill, The whole sweet autumn slumbered. The street lay cool and still:”Together the musician and poet have created a wonderful melding of words and music, which only continues…
“The children moved through twilight, The village steeple gleamed, Pears from their boughs hung trembling”Then the entire mood shifts with a gloriously abrupt forte chord on the piano, immediately followed by swirling sixteenth notes, while the poet exclaims:
“And suddenly it seemed, Shaken by such a wildness Of terror and desire, My heart burst into music And my body into fire.”
The composer’s accompaniment mirrors the sheer joy and excitement of the essence of the poem’s words.
An exciting art song for concert performance!