Farewell: Song for Baritone and Piano by A. E. Housman
In the past I've been reluctant to post vocal pieces on this forum, since I can only offer software-generated synth voices in the audio files, which I think are a greater obstacle to imagining a performance than are software-generated instrumentals. But some of the vocal pieces I've posted here have gotten comments, which I greatly appreciate, so since I'm currently composing a number of new or revised vocal pieces, I thought I would share some others.
Some of my songs are created by matching traditional melodies to lyrics by myself or others. This one is a rather unusual example, since the melody is a little known traditional American sailors' song called "The Flying Cloud" -- something that might not seem a promising setting for an A. E. Housman poem. But I think the melody actually matches the verses quite well.
Comments always welcome, even if some time has passed since this posting.
The lyrics are in the score, but for convenience I also add them below.
"Farewell to barn and stack and tree,
Farewell to Severn shore.
Terence, look your last at me,
For I come home no more.
"The sun burns on the half-mown hill,
By now the blood is dried;
And Maurice amongst the hay lies still
And my knife is in his side."
"My mother thinks us long away;
'Tis time the field were mown.
She had two sons at rising day,
To-night she'll be alone."
"And here's a bloody hand to shake,
And oh, man, here's good-bye;
We'll sweat no more on scythe and rake,
My bloody hands and I."
"I wish you strength to bring you pride,
And a love to keep you clean,
And I wish you luck, come Lammastide,
At racing on the green."
"Long for me the rick will wait,
And long will wait the fold,
And long will stand the empty plate,
And dinner will be cold."
Please note that while this composition is based on a traditional song and poem in the public domain, my adaptation is an original creative work under copyright. You may feel free to share or link to it by the usual means. For performance permission, please see my permissions page.
Image: A. E. Housman, 1910