Gwyneth Walker

Though Love Be a Day

for High Voice and Piano (1979)

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Read a review of Though Love Be a Day (1979) for high voice and piano by John Rockwell, The New York Times.
Read an analysis of "thy fingers make early flowers" from Though Love Be a Day (1979) for voice and piano
Read an analysis of "Still" from Though Love Be a Day (1979) for voice and piano
Read a letter from Josh Ferguson, September 12, 2005 ("though love be a day" and Walker songs "from the accompanist's perspective")

Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the first movement of this work performed by Diana Guhin Wooley, soprano and Richard Steinbach, piano.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the second movement of this work performed by Michelle Areyzaga, soprano and Jamie Shaak, piano.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the third movement of this work performed by Diana Guhin Wooley, soprano and Richard Steinbach, piano.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the fourth movement of this work performed by Michelle Areyzaga, soprano and Jamie Shaak, piano.
Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the fifth movement of this work performed by Denise Walker, soprano and Estrid Eklof, piano.
Download an a MP3 file of the first movement of this work performed by Diana Guhin Wooley, soprano and Richard Steinbach, piano.
Download an a MP3 file of the fifth movement of this work performed by Michelle Areyzaga, soprano and Jamie Shaak, piano.

Listen to a RealAudio (G2) stream of the entire cycle performed by Peter Harvey, tenor and Herbert Chatsky, piano.
Download an a MP3 file of the entire cycle performed by Peter Harvey, tenor and Herbert Chatsky, piano.

Download a PDF file of the poetry used in this work as text for printing in concert programs.


Cover

though love be a day, five songs for high voice and piano on poems by E. E. Cummings and Gwyneth Walker, was composed in 1979 for Soprano Kathryn Bennett, a student at the Oberlin College Conservatory. [Gwyneth Walker was on the faculty of the Conservatory at that time.] The initial poem selected for the set was "after all white horses are in bed." These words immediately suggested a musical setting as a love song. And this song became the centerpiece (third song) of the cycle.

The other poems in the set were selected to introduce and frame "...white horses." No. 2, "lily has a rose" and No. 4, "maggie and millie and mollie and may" are lighthearted and lively, to contrast with "white horses." The opening song, "thy fingers make early flowers," beckons the listener to enter the romantic and playful world of e.e. cummings: "do not fear, though love be a day, we will go a-maying." And the final "Still" (poem by Gwyneth Walker) was created to provide an intense and powerful closing to the cycle.

The number five figures prominently in this music. There are five songs. The title contains five words. There are many references to fingers. Quintuplet motives appear in the piano accompaniment of several songs: quickly in the first song, slowly in the last song. This happened subconsciously.

Notes by the composer