The Way Summer Fades

Solo voice, piano

Full of longing and loss, this solo song, available for high (c#-f#), medium (b-e), or low (b flat-e flat) voices. Simple and expressive, over a rolling, ethereal piano part. Score below.


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PROGRAM NOTES

This is a song for those of us who dream of a perpetual, idyllic summer, free from scheduled, regimented modern life. The poem and the music were written while floating in the water in the warmth of late August in Priest Lake, in northern Idaho. By this time, in the north, days are still beautiful and sunny, but the nights are getting longer and cooler, and every day it gets harder and harder to ignore the demands of civilization and the day to day business of caring for a family and making a living. You can feel the slowly rolling waves in the piano, and hear our reluctance to leave our place of sanctuary and calm.

NOTES ON PREPARATION AND PERFORMANCE

The rhythmic structure is built from the dotted quarter note as the beat. Once you realize that 14/8 is basically 5 beats, 4 dotted quarters and a quarter, it falls more into place. That fifth beat is almost as if it was in 4, but the last beat was just held for a couple more eigths. At no time should it become metronomic. Let it flow easily forward and back. It should be sung with no sense of hurry, but not in a dragging way, with a sense of reluctance and resignation. This piece was written for tenor Adam Shelton as part of my Composer-In-Residence year with the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers.

TEXT

The way summer fades,
the way open blue sky recedes,
wave by wave
into grey days
and blurry, starless nights

The way summer skin fades,
remembering long days
in warm sun
only for a little while

The way summer quiet fades,
floating, listening,
lost under waves
of insisting noise

The way summer hopes fade
the ripe moment past
left on the branch
to fall

The way summer memories fade,
the waves receding,
the waves

–Reginald Unterseher
18 August 2011
Priest Lake, Idaho

 

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