A Cradle Song (1997 rev. 2009)

(text: W.B. Yeats)
5 min.
Published by Sulasol

I originally set William Butler Yeats’ short poem in 1997 after the death of a young cousin of mine. At the time, Yeats’ bittersweet words seemed to reach beyond the implied simplicity of the poem’s title to encompass the grief of a father whose child would never grow old. I wasn’t able to arrange a performance of the piece in the years that followed, and the score soon found itself at the bottom of a box. In 2009, after the birth of my son, I found that I better understood Yeats’ original intent, the joy and possessiveness of fatherhood, the desire to suspend time and aging, and decided to return to the music. The revised version preserves much of the original, with its largely consonant but unstable harmonies and lack of clear resolution, and the piece is dedicated to both the events that led to it.